Joe Hill has written some incredible stuff (see my review of N0S4A2 here) and now he’s written an answer to my question about how he stays focused:
I used to try and juggle two or sometimes even three writing jobs at once. I’d have a novel I’d work on in the morning, a comic I’d be scripting in the evening, and maybe an introduction or a review I’d be scribbling in-between. It never really worked and it often left me both overstressed and too worn out to focus on the rest of my life.
Also, doubling up on projects made me less productive, not more. Everything took twice, or even three times as long to finish, because I was tackling each project with half my focus. None of this reflects in any way on the finished results – I don’t publish things until I’m ready and I like them and think other people will like them. It only means I made things harder for myself than they had to be.
This is precisely how I’ve felt of late, although people keep asking me how I stay so focused and productive (my friend Saleema just asked me last night — my answer was that it’s all an illusion).
Hill’s solution is simple and elegant: work on only thing at a time (no creative multitasking!) — and happens to be the solution I was pondering. So now I feel like my instincts are confirmed, and that’s new “Jonathan Ball policy” officially.
Thanks, Joe Hill!