More Than One Can Chew

I was literally just banging my head against the desk and trying to think of a topic for tomorrow. My desk is not the most robust of office equipment, so I did not try to put my head through the top as instructed by random Youtube guy. In order to attain the proper-sized knot on forehead I needed a less thorough approach. After all, I figured that with enough cranial trauma two brain cells might collide and give me something to write about.

And there it was, like a beacon in the night, like Gondor calling for aid. The reason I was having so much difficulty coming up with what I should write about was because I had too much to write. I overbooked my time again, and this is something an aspiring writer needs to be careful about.

When you’re just starting out and you are trying to get your foot in the door, you say “yes” to a lot of things without really thinking them through. An anthology? Sure! Trilogy? Hell yeah! You are afraid to decline because you don’t know when these people are going to come to you again, so you keep saying “yes”.

Case in point: Matt Stone and Trey Parker said “yes” to every idea Hollywood threw at them when South Park got big. They did not decline a single screenplay they were offered to write or direct and, as a result, they found themselves booked beyond belief. This led to some issues and eventually they had to drop out of the majority of the projects. It didn’t hurt their careers to say “no” but, at the time, they did not know this. So like every single new writer, they simply said “yes”.

Now, I’m not in that boat quite yet, but that’s because I am very good at disseminating my writing time and I adhere to a fairly strict schedule. I have it on a spreadsheet (seriously, a massive one at that) and it helps me keep track on what is due next. I also have desktop “sticky notes” with timers and due dates to keep me on track. All this, plus a little bit of self-discipline (haha!), keeps alles in ordnung. 

So I’m going to tell you, new writer, that it’s okay to turn down that anthology because you have other projects going on. You don’t have to commit to 20+ anthologies if you feel you’re only going to get 5-6 completed by the deadline. Be honest and say “Thank you, but I’m swamped at the moment. However, can you keep me in mind for the next one, because this stuff sounds interesting.”

Trust me, editors will nod and thank you, and remember that you were upfront and really do want to participate but just can’t at the moment. If you know them personally, they’ll understand even more, because they already know how swamped you probably are. I mean, that’s what social media is for, right?

In the meantime, here is an anthology that I’m in. I encourage you to pick up a copy today. Just click the pic.

Fistful of Credits

8 thoughts on “More Than One Can Chew

  1. Young wizard: Well, I guess that I’ll have to make time.

    Older wizard: Don’t even try That.


  2. I recall a science fiction writer (I want to say it was Niven, but I can’t find the quote) who wrote something to the effect that writers, as they grow more successful, hit two points–the first when they need to start turning down bad jobs, and the second when they need to start turning down good jobs. He went on to say that he unfortunately failed to recognize the second point until he was well passed it and ended up with far more commissions than he could comfortable handle.

    Working on the other side, having been involved with putting together several anthologies, I’ve learned that about a third of the writers who promise to send a story end up giving me a usable piece, so I send out a lot of invites.

    1. or you end up with the complete opposite problem and dont look for the next gig til you finish your current one…

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