Two Books, One Writer
There are so many myths surrounding writers and I’m totally into it. Apparently Wordworth used to walk up and down the path outside his house devising poetry because he liked the rhythm his feet made. According to legend, no one was allowed in the office of Charles Dickens while he was writing apart from his deaf cat. Supposedly, Hemmingway was always hammered when he penned anything worthy…the list goes on and I buy into all of it, whether I actually believe it or not. After all, you’ve got to make the (often) tedious process of putting words on a page (or letters on a word document) seem a bit more magical.
But one such writing myth I heard recently piqued my interest – apparently Stephen King writes at least two books at a time, switching between the different manuscripts. Now, I don’t know if this is actually true, but it resonated with me. At the moment I am doing just that and it can be a bit taboo around other writers. A lot of people are very precious about their work and they have certain ‘rules’ that they stick to, one often being that they work on stories one at a time. I suppose it’s a little like reading. I have always been the sort of reader that can have one or twenty books on the go without any trouble (probably because this was a necessity at uni) but I know many who hate the idea.
I’m not saying that one approach is best, but often people can be a little ‘sniffy’ if you reveal that your reading/writing more than one book at a time. The implication is often that you’re therefore putting only half the amount of effort in and I just don’t think that’s true. At the moment, due to my work on my YA fantasy novel Feathers and my work-in-progress for my MA in Creative Writing, I am working on two books simultaneously. I’ve never done this before, but I’m finding that it is actually a very productive way of working for me. Neither story ever gets old and I find that swapping between them keeps things fresh.
Ultimately, I think that it doesn’t matter how you write. Whether you work on one book at a time or fifty, as long as the stuff gets from your head and onto the page then everything is going to be okay.