What Do I Work on Next? Tell Me!

Start of the new semester is always busy and crazy as a high school teacher. As I mentioned previously, I transitioned into a new LTO this week at a different school, which on its own makes for a lot of work and a lot of extra stuff going on in my mind. This semester changeover was easily my most tumultuous, however – I won’t go into the details here, since quite frankly it’s not important and not something I feel like sharing, but suffice to say it has a lot to do with job security and significant amounts of anxiety and uncertainty. Don’t worry, things are fine now, and I’m looking forward to a challenging and enjoyable semester.

What I want to focus on here is a side effect of having a tumultuous week at work: deciding what the hell I’m going to work on next in my writing. Unlike some writers I know, I can’t rock a whole lot of projects simultaneously. When I was writing the first draft of my current novel project, Convoy, I focused almost exclusively on that, except for the occasional dip into a side project in order to meet a deadline. Now that I’m into revisions on the novel, I can alternate between that and word creation on a single short story at a time; essentially right now I’m doing revisions through the week and writing new short stories on the weekend. I find it difficult to have multiple short projects on the go at the same time, which means that once I finish a short story (which I did the other day, except for getting beta reader opinions) I look at my queue of waiting projects and decide what to do next.

But I’m sitting here this morning looking at that list and thinking, What the hell do I work on now? None of the stories is particularly speaking to me, probably because my head is so tired from this week. My productivity mantra of “just fucking write” means I have to choose something and see what happens, or spend my weekend continuing my revisions on Convoy. It’s been a while since I’ve had this much trouble deciding what to work on, and in case you can’t tell, it’s starting to bug me. What is a writer to do?

Arguably, the best idea is to stick to Convoy for this weekend, which is only unfortunate because my screwed-up work schedule makes it difficult to generate new words through the week. Though some writers say that you have to just sit down and force the words out, even if they suck, since I don’t have a deadline on any of these stories I have the freedom to pick and choose. There are a couple stories I want to write for upcoming anthology calls, but those deadlines are many moons away. I could also clean my apartment and get caught up on episodes of Planet X Podcast and Writing Excuses – menial labor is always good for clearing one’s head. And then tea. Tea is always good.

Okay, that’s what I’ll do then, until I decide it isn’t working and switch to something else. Thanks for listening to my rambling about my own productivity. Feel free to offer me some words of wisdom in the comments section, especially if it’s something like, “Just go relax, dude. You’re fretting, and that’s not healthy.”

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2 thoughts on “What Do I Work on Next? Tell Me!

  1. Hi Brandon, I was talking about you this week and said to someone…someone like Brandon will be writing a fictional story about the world impact of a virus …aka… Zika on humanity.

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