In chat this morning (and actually on many mornings) with the esteemablejaylake we talked a bit about the strange evolution that occurs when a short story writer transitions into being both a short story writer and a novelist. For me, I've found it to be an interesting corner. On the one hand, I utterly love short fiction and have spent a decade writing it (and nearly a decade selling it.) On the other hand, I'm now also utterly in love with writing novels. At the heart of both is the Call of Story and the Joy I find in the creative process. But they are vastly different lines of business that require re-tooling the Trailer Boy Story Factory and coming up with new SOPs to keep the plant thriving, the Muse happy, QA satisfied and the president smiling.
I don't know about you, but I'm a lousy multi-tasker. Back in the pre-novel days, I would work on a short story for a pretty short amount of time -- usually thinking, researching, thinking some more, drafting, polishing, revising if necessary, all within a week or two. Then I would pause once it was ready and to market and put focus into the other areas (sales and marketing, training and talent development, R&D, the company picnic) until it was time to spin the factory up for the next creative outburst. But it's now been a year and a week since I shifted gears into writing novels and my old way of doing business doesn't work anymore. I don't have the luxury of waiting six months to do the other business pieces and have to learn new tricks for getting it all done. I'm test driving lower output goals to leave time for other activities, trying out a "produce in the mornings, do other business a few nights of the week and on Saturday" to see how that flies. So far, not so great but it takes time. Maybe I need to open a Change Management Department. Just what I need...more voices in my head. : ) As Jay has said in other posts, it's just trading up for a new set of problems. as we grow in our careers. Of course, it takes time to adjust to change. It took me years to find the balance and rhythm of juggling producing and marketing short stories along with marketing myself as a writer.
So, for those of you who've made this transition, what has it looked like when you've added the new business line to your factory? What were your biggest challenges? What new SOPs did you develop? And how is working for you?