It never fails. If I mention to someone that I’m a writer, I almost always get the dreaded question: So what are you writing now?
Usually I give people the short answer, which is whatever I’m closest to finishing, but the truth is a little more complicated. Take now, for example. I’m almost done with my new YA book. That’s certainly where I’m spending the bulk of my writing time. But there’s also the new short story I started the other day that’s five or six pages in. I got bit by a story idea and wanted to at least get down the opening, but I didn’t want to take too long away from the YA because I’m currently writing some of the most pivotal scenes.
So there’s two projects. But I also have the mystery book I finished a few months ago. After getting some feedback from some trusted readers, and sitting on the book for a while, I realized that it’s not quit there. Close, lots of good stuff so it’s not a redraft, but there’s some work that needs to be done. Fortunately, I finally figured out what I think it needs, and I’ve started on that too.
What about the copy edits on the short story collection I finished not long ago and emailed to the editor? Do those count? What about the questionnaire Simon and Schuster asked me to fill out for their new online promotional efforts for their authors?
And heck, right now I’m writing this blog post. Throw that into the mix.
This is certainly not uncommon — in fact, there are lots of writers with far more on their plates than me — but I’ve come to see it as a good thing. One of the best ways to be prolific, and to avoid writer’s block or the dreaded lulls between projects, is to always be working on something. It keeps the creative juices flowing.
But if we’re being literal about it, then unless I’m sitting in front of a computer typing away when somebody asks this question, then really there’s only one answer.
Right now? I’m not writing anything. I’m talking to you.