book inc  –  journal  –  Two-Timer


Cheating on my writing project with another writing project or how to balance multiple projects

By Shanda McManus

June 16, 2022

I had an uncle who had a Friday night date and a Saturday night date. Neither knew about the other. Sometimes I feel like my two-timing uncle when it comes to writing. I have two book projects going on at once. Sometimes, I even have a weekend fling with a third.

It all started when I finished the first draft of my memoir, and I started drafting a new project to distract myself from the anxiety of waiting for my beta reader’s feedback. The new project gave me space to create without the constraints of a deadline. I felt energized. Then, I got my first manuscript back and needed to work on revisions.

The new project whispered to me while I grappled with revisions for the first. So, I snuck in time with the new project. Cheating (yes, it felt like cheating) by drafting something new, when I was supposed to be revising.

But then I began to get comfortable with having two projects going at once. When I finished my first draft, having a second project gave me a much-needed mental break and kept me writing. My second project had lower stakes, so I felt fresh and creative when I came to the page. Balancing two projects makes me focus more while working on each one because I know my time is limited.

I’m a Gemini, so maybe I’m partial to dividing my energies. Still, I think two-timing your manuscript has its benefits, no matter what your zodiac sign.

Shanda McManus has been featured in Intima Journal of Narrative Medicine, Midnight & Indigo, and other publications.