Monday, June 3, 2013

The Difference Between Multitasking and Time Management

I once talked about time management, which is one of the more helpful lessons one can learn if they are an author, however stopping here would only be half the story. It takes a skill in multitasking as well. The distinction between the two is important to understand.

I am very skilled at time management, and I find it easy to schedule projects into my daily routine, however I lack the skill to collectively focus on more than one project if I have that going on in the background. Being a writer you will discover very quickly that to be successful one has to open themselves up to a multitude of projects. For instance, fight now I am finishing Spirit of Orn up, during which I am also writing a graphic novel, a screenplay, and a non-fiction book. Doing them all together is the key.

So help visualize carrying out multiple projects I want you to visualize your time in school. Try to remember what helped you be a successful student. Did you have a great planner? Or were you just excellent at paying mind to small details? My theory is that multitasking a stream of projects can be possible by creating a cognitive link between the project and an activity. Imagine being back in history class and then going on to math. How does the brain differentiate between those two disparate kinds of knowledge? Generally it's because of the activities your are associating with each class.

Translating that over to writing, and going back to my project workload, the ability to multitask is not so bad because I have done the same thing to my workflow. On Sequart I gather my notes purely by recording them into an orange binder. But whenever I work on a book, I input my notes on a computer while referencing physical, printed books. In my time writing graphic novels I write into two larger paper pads, one a grid to draw mock-up panels and the other to record dialogue. I have tried to differentiate substantially between each process to limit the amount of time it takes at the start of the day to "re-enter" that frame of mine in which I was chronicling my stories.

Neil Gaiman does something rather similar. He wrote Stardust on paper into a notebook, and it helped him slow his narrative pacing and create the ambiance of the fairly tale. American Gods he wrote on a typewritter to elicit the early 20th century feel of journalism that the story leverages. The other books he wrote on the Word processor. It's good to diversify, so experiment!

I hope you all enjoyed my story The Rod and the Mackerel. I was looking back on it's reception these past few weeks and I have been pleasantly surprised at how well it was received. I'm still brainstorming for Wednesday however. I'll cook up something nice for you all!

In the realm of comic books, me and Phil are going to meet together soon to do some final concept work as well as film an information video for the comic. It'll be an exciting thing to take a swing at! There's more to come on that though.


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