Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG - The Ruination That Is Multi-tasking

August 5, 2015

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, 
once you find them

I’m going to date myself here. Those words are from the song “Time in a Bottle” by the late Jim Croce, circa 1973. The words are hauntingly prophetic considering Croce died at age thirty not long after the song was released.

If you do a search using the words 'time management for writers' you will find a plethora of information. Probably the most prevailing bit of wisdom says what you've already heard everywhere you've ever searched for tips for living the writing life - make time to write something every day. In my world, it’s more like make time to take care of the business of writing every day.

I used to try to do everything at once. I felt this incredible NEED to be able to write, to network, to do promotion, and cook dinner simultaneously. I tried, and I failed. Oh, boy did I fail. Miserably, too.

I’m not sure when it hit me that multi-tasking is not all it’s touted to be. I’m just grateful I realized it before it killed me. Why did I have to do all of it every day? Who said I needed to drive myself insane?

If there was ever a time I was riddled with writer’s insecurity it was when I let multi-tasking rule my life. I put so much effort into reading posts in Yahoo groups and wondering how in the world those people had time to make so many friends in the chat rooms AND write a book. They were doing it so I felt like I had to do it or I’d fall behind. Why did I need to compare myself to them? 

It wasn’t until I quit writing for about three months that I came to the conclusion some of that crappy so-called “writer’s wisdom” is very Darwin-esque. The truly insecure and wicked put it out there to weed out the weak and set them up to fail. People, that behavior will not help you be a better writer.

What will help is FOCUS.

If you need to improve your technical skills, FOCUS on that first for a while. If you need to finish a chapter, FOCUS on that and to heck with facebook for an evening or two. If your next new release is scheduled and you need to beef up your Twitter followers, FOCUS on that for a designated space of time.

Listen to the inner voice. It’ll tell you where your energy needs to be applied. Let it guide to the most important thing you have to do or learn today, and then give it your all. You might be surprised what you can accomplish if you scale the writing mountain one step at a time.

KC Kendricks

To the writers of the IWSG - network with me on Twitter at @kckendricks. 


Pat Garcia said...


Great article. You hit it on the head with the word FOCUS. Multi-tasking doesn't help improve your writing skills because you're not concentrating on writing, you are aiming at fulfilling a quota that has you under pressure, and it hinders your creativity.

Another thing you mentioned is listening to your inner voice. I can only say 'Amen' to that. That is so important but in order to hear our inner voice, we have to be able to tolerate silence by shutting down all the thoughts and things that distract us.

I really enjoyed reading your article.

All the best with your writing.

Pat Garcia

KC Kendricks said...

Thanks, Pat :) Focus isn't easy but I, for one, need to practice it everyday or nothing gets done. I really have abandoned the idea of multi-tasking. I'll gladly give the people who can do it an "atta-girl" or an "atta-boy" but I need my sanity!

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That image says it all!
I can do two things at once (like do my work and blog at the same time) but any more than that and I'm a mess.

KC Kendricks said...

One thing about writing is the subconscious is always at work on it. That's a good thing, a bit amazing :) The words come faster if I let the subconscious simmer while I focus on different tasks.