October 15, 2009

3 Questions for Steven Pressfield (part 2 of 3)

I'm back with part two of my Q&A with Steven Pressfield. This week, he offers insights and suggestions for writers with regards to time management (and staying sane) while juggling multiple projects and responsibilities. If you do not currently have the luxury of devoting all your working hours to one project, Pressfield's suggestions may be just what the "Muse" ordered.

MS: Do you work on more than one project at once, and if so, how do you organize your time in a way that is productive?

SP: For years I only worked on one project at a time and treated it exactly like a job: a daily routine, a steady working rhythm that would let me build momentum over time, patience to view the overall project as a marathon and not a sprint--and thus take time pressure off myself. But in the last couple of years, opportunities have presented themselves where I am working on more than one at once. I don't really like it. It's hard. Really requires mental compartmentalization. I will literally block out blocks of time (and hold myself to it), where I'll work on Project X from ten to twelve, then cut it off and go from twelve to two on Project Y. The Muse doesn't seem to mind. She seems to be able to switch over without missing a beat.

But, obviously, it's harder to juggle multiple projects because it demands rigid time management. One thing I DON'T want to do is let one project languish, if I'm working on more than one. It's important, for me anyway, to "touch base" with a project every day, even if it's only for a short period. Projects are like children; they get lonely if you don't tuck 'em in each night. Then they can start causing trouble--and we don't want that!

Check back next week for the final installment of my Q&A, in which Pressfield discusses the process of revision and how to conquer resistance. Until then, take care of your children, fellow writers.

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