Why Having a “Work in Progress” Isn’t a Bad Thing

Writer Stash

By Eliza David

Writers often have a love/hate relationship with finishing a manuscript. On one hand, there’s nothing quite like the sweet relief that comes with writing ‘The End’ when finishing a work in progress (or WIP). I recently had this gratifying experience with the first draft of my upcoming novel, The Follow. Over sixty-six thousand words of my life are saved and awaiting revision. This is usually where the flip-side of the joy of finishing a project begins. The fear that seeps in when you aren’t sure what to do next can be frustrating at best and unproductive at worst.

But there is a way to prevent the dreaded writing slump: keep a writing stash!  I am never without multiple options for WIPs, whether they are evergreen blog posts, saucy short stories, or pieces like the one you’re reading right now. Having your hands in many writing projects at once may sound stressful (and, sometimes, it is!), but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages:

It staves off boredom. The saying goes, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s playground’. It is also the bored writer’s dungeon. Having several writing projects in rotation keeps me from taking an impromptu writing hiatus. If I’m not adding words to a novel manuscript, I’m working on my latest blog entry or writing a review for a kick-ass (or not so kick-ass) book I read. Writing breaks are good for the soul, but boredom breaks may break your writing habit for longer than anticipated.

It creates flexibility. Let’s say you’re a blogger who’s been kicking around an idea for a novel for quite some time. What’s holding you back? Fear of the unknown? That’s the best reason to pick up the pen and create those characters running rampant in your brain. Learning any new writing genre is only going to enhance your craft.

It influences daily writing habits. Author Ray Bradbury said it best: You must write every single day of your life. Having a few projects going at once will encourage a daily habit. Schedule it out as you would an important meeting or a workout. I prefer to wake up before my family does at 5 am to pound the keys. Some prefer to write over their lunch hour while others get their best words during the wee hours of the night. Whatever works for you, make it something you do every day and managing those WIPS will become less stressful.

If your heart is with writing, don’t be afraid to extend yourself for the craft. Discover poetry, screenwriting, non-fiction, blogging – anything that keeps the keys tapping and the words flowing!

Eliza is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap.  To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE.

{featured image via we heart it}