Monogamy Issues?

The first Wednesday of March is here (Good God) which means one of my favorite posts to write has arrived. Woop for scheduled posts and actually remembering to write them! If you’re an aspiring author, you need to check out IWSG right now so you can see that this crazy affliction called “being a writer” has a treatment. It’s called support. By other writers. Who suffer the same ailments as you. Fear. Doubt. Anxiety (for those of us who get anxiety in sharing our stuff. Seriously, pass the wine.) It’s an awesome blog hop designed by Alex Cavanaugh that helps you meet other people enduring this same, crazy lifestyle. Go  on, check out other blogs and make some friends.

This month’s doubt/fear/reason for biting my nails (squeezed the shit out of my stress ball until it broke. Second one this year) is this:

What if I should be writing something different?

I think this all the time. I’m reading, I’m listening to music, I’m off in La La land again and a new character pops in to say hello. AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM. Damn. It’s like being flirted with by the Arrow when you’re already dating Batman. Should you flirt back or come clean about prior engagements? Look, Oliver Queen. You’re adorable, but I’ve got a serious thing going. But when/if Batman and I end, I’ve got your number.

And on the ride home you’re tempted to call. Just to say it was nice meeting them. Because it was, right? It was awesome. But you’re already in a committed relationship and that’s that. You’re happy and life is grand. Then you think come on… they didn’t just pop in for no reason. I guess I’m having monogamy issues, which is pretty clear since I’m nearly 80,00 words into my current WIP (still going strong and nameless!) and haven’t touched the fourth book of my series since last year. LAST YEAR. And I LOVE my series. But then Josh just dropped in on me (kind of rude, like he didn’t care I was already entertaining), cursed a bit and was out of control interesting that I simply *had* to put my current project aside to listen to him. I know. I’m cheating on Reid with Josh. I should feel ashamed…. shouldn’t I?

Oh, I plan on returning to Nerwolix or Mybyncia or wherever Fallon and Reid and the others end up (I know and you don’t – Bwahaha!) but I couldn’t swat Josh away. He was too demanding – you know how those characters can be, like they think the world revolves around them and everything going on in their messed-up universe. It’s kind of arrogant, actually. Like dude, take a chill pill and I’ll get back with you when I can. But I didn’t. I obliged. I OBLIGED.

*hangs head in shame*

So is this wrong? Writing Josh and Marie when it should be Reid and Fallon? Am I cheat-writing? Or is it okay to have multiple projects going at once?


I need a new stress ball.

Or wine cellar. A wine cellar would be nice.

89 thoughts on “Monogamy Issues?

  1. nickielson1 says:

    Cheat-writing, hehe. I say if the pull is strong and you’re compelled to keep going w/ the new guy, nothing wrong with it. You’re absolutely write that he wasn’t sent to you for no reason. He might even teach you a few new things that the old guy will appreciate when you come back to him. 😉

  2. Susan Gourley says:

    LOL. Who could resist when the Arrow comes calling? I always feel like I’m cheating too when I’m called away from a WIP, like I left my characters hanging by their fingernails. Sometimes though, you just have to go with it when the muse is carrying you away.

  3. Murees Dupé says:

    I think you can write on more than one project at a time. It totally depends on the writer. I can’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. After all, you have to go where the inspiration takes you. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words on my blog

    • cgcoppola says:

      I should totally have an answer for that but I’m kind of stupid with this blog. I only know about the little “follow me” button (which took me a while to find in the widget section.) But I’m so flattered by your comment! Seriously Karen, you made my day.

  4. Kela McClelland says:

    First I must say I love the way you wrote this post. And the batman/arrow thing is great. As someone who currently(well, when I get myself back around to my writing) has one WIP in editing, two in line to be edited, at least four started-some even several chapters in, and a short story or few…I say they should just expect us to be cheaters. Besides, sometimes those character affairs can turn into something so awesome.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog today. 🙂

    • cgcoppola says:

      I am usually pretty monogamous because I feel like my characters are standing there, shaking their heads at me in anger. So this whole double project thing is throwing me. BUT I can share the love. I just have to remember to disperse it evenly.

      And thank you for returning the visit 🙂

  5. jenlanebooks says:

    Humorous post, Caitlin! I think we gotta go where the characters lead us, even though there’s pressure to continue on with a series. I had the opposite difficulty recently — I was working on something new and my series pulled me back in, making me push aside my shiny new characters to go back to some oldies but goodies. Cheers!

  6. chemistken says:

    You have to work on whatever the muse tells you to work on. I think that’s the way it works. Eventually you’ll have to make a decision or you’ll never finish anything. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working on two (or more) projects at the same time.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m a Ravenclaw myself. Although in my Hogwarts story, Hufflepuff plays an important part.

  7. Loni Townsend says:

    I know how you feel, though my situation is different. I’d rather be home with Derek, but I’m off on a business trip with Naida. I get phone calls from him, asking when I’ll be back, while Naida is tapping her toe and checking her watch. Then I’m hiding in a bathroom stall, sneaking in texts with him on my lunch, when I’m supposed to be going over project details with her. And then she’s glaring across the table, demanding that I focus and asking if I’d just heard anything she said. *sigh* What are we to do with these relationships?

    Anyways, maybe yours is an enjoyable business trip and not an actual love affair? 😉

    • cgcoppola says:

      HAHA. You’re adorable. These characters… they just can’t get enough of their writer. They all want the spotlight, don’t they?

      But no, I’m thinking it’s a love affair. Maybe I’m just Mormon and don’t know it.

  8. Annalisa Crawford says:

    Cheat writing is completely fine. Also (because I’m not a fan of Batman) I’d say cheating with the Arrow is also fine 🙂 Other kinds of cheating, less so. Wine cellars are also very fine!

  9. VR Barkowski says:

    Sure, cheat write if that’s where your muse leads. Personally, I can’t work on more than one project at a time. I can leave a novel to write a short story and then go back to the novel later, but I can’t work on two projects simultaneously. S’pose that means a big no on writing one-night stands, but an affair here or there? Sure.

    VR Barkowski

    • cgcoppola says:

      Well it was supposed to be a short story. Originally. So I felt no qualms in a quick conversation. Then he changed his game and I felt ambushed with his weighty story. Heh, men.

  10. Suzanne Furness says:

    Oh yeah bring on the wine cellar! Cheat-writing, haha, never thought of it like that but it’s a good description! I tend to focus on one project at a time but when ideas come calling I certainly make notes so I can get back to them. Thanks for visiting my blog today 🙂

  11. lexacain says:

    I know a number of writers who write on different projects at once. The lure of the “new and shiny” is powerful! Some believe if you get something exciting in your head you should strike while the iron is hot. Do whatever makes you happy!

  12. Joleene Naylor says:

    If you can manage multiple projects then go for it lady!

    And if Arrow gives you his number you’ll share, right? I mean, you know, just to have… *cough* 😉

  13. Far Away Eyes says:

    I don’t know you, but I saw the comment you left at ‘Weaving A Tale or Two’ about the Cherokee proverb. Wow, did I ever need that today. Anyway…this is what prompted the visit. I just wanted a little more of your wisdom and wit. I wouldn’t mind if you would share something from the wine cellar, also.

    Cheating on your characters – Ha, I never thought of it that way. I have three full length novels written and now I’m working on edits and rewrites of one (the stand alone – the other two are a series and I have no idea where the final book (I think) should go.), but the two MC’s from the series books keep entering my dreams. I think they want their story told, but I sure do wish they would tell me where to take them, or where they want to take me, or whatever.

    • cgcoppola says:

      Yeah, when I first read that Cherokee proverb I was blown away. It was like the light turned on and it all made sense. Glad I could pass it along! I think you should listen to your subconscious – your characters obviously want to be heard, so they’ve got something important to say. Give them time to talk and they’ll tell you what you need to know.

      You’re more than welcome to the wine cellar as well. I must warn you, it may be depleted.

  14. Donna K. Weaver says:

    This is awesome. I love it. I tend (or have tended to be in a past) the kind of personality who starts something and finishes it. Starts something and finishes it. I could never read more than one book at a time. I’m becoming more versatile as I get older though (as evidenced in me reading 2 or 3 books at a time–though one of those is almost always an audiobook, so maybe it’s not the same thing). I’m finding I can also do that now with projects. I’m writing new words for an anthology submission, but I’ve got three full-length novels I’ve been editing too. But those I can’t so simultaneously. I just don’t have that many hours in a day. Dang day job.

  15. Kimberly says:

    LOL – you’re right, we are going through the same issue right now! Everyone on my blog has been telling me to write it! And I’m thinking – they’re right, so that’s what I’m going to do because my new character is not leaving me alone either (when I’m almost done with another wip and still have to finish a 2nd one!) So I don’t think you’re cheating – I think you’re doing what you have to do. 🙂

    • cgcoppola says:

      And ditto. I’m calling it a sabbatical. Because we’ll return to them, right? Something just got in the way right now. That’s all. No need to shove, people. We’ll get to you all.

  16. Cherie Colyer says:

    I love this post. We are in the same place. I think it’s definitely okay to have two projects going at one time. My fear is that eventually one will take over and leave the other sitting in a corner just waiting to be finished. I’m trying very hard not to start a new book until I’m done with the one I’m working on (I’m close), but after that I have to figure out who to spend time with next and I have two books vying for my attention.

    Good luck with your stories. =)

  17. spunkonastick says:

    LOL – I’d want the wine cellar.

    If your heart is more into what you are working on now, you need to stick with it. I love the characters from my series, but I’m drawn to other ideas now. I might return someday, and I might not. We both have that option.

    • cgcoppola says:

      Yeah, but then I’d be passed out drunk by 7:00. With the stress-ball, I can work, squeeze, work, squeeze, work, squeeze. At least there’d be productivity.

      Options are good. Options are very good and I’m getting the general consensus to just follow my muse. She’s never led me astray before 🙂

  18. Stephen Tremp says:

    I usually have a few coals in the fire at the same time. I can’t seem to focus on one book only.

  19. Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes) says:

    I used to be really bad about doing that. Most of my first stories are half finished because a shiny new idea whispered to me. The most current story I’m working on was one that interrupted another story. I don’t mind because I really like this new story.

  20. Diane Burton says:

    Your post gave me a good laugh. Sure, cheat write. Sometimes those darn characters just won’t leave you alone. I’m working on 2, maybe 3, projects right now. When I get blocked on one, I switch. Doesn’t happen too often. Good luck.

  21. Shannon Lawrence says:

    Cheater! Nah, there’s nothing wrong with working on multiple projects at once as long as you’re comfortable with it. While I avoid it with novels for my own comfort, I do tend to be writing several short stories at once.

  22. suzanne says:

    I think you have to follow your heart, and if it leads you off on a tangent then go with it 🙂 You can always realise it’s not what you want to be writing and go back to plan A 🙂
    Co-host for March 🙂

  23. Rachna Chhabria says:

    You seem to be having a lot of issues. I am sure a little flirtation is not harmful, in fact I will go as far as saying its healthy. So, flirt with the new idea, but stay committed to the older one 🙂

  24. rolandclarke says:

    Variety is the spice in a writer’s life… or is in mine. Hard to switch sometimes, but the urge to ‘cheat’ has to be satisfied sometimes – as long as you don’t end up with too many characters, too many WIPs, too many distractions that you stop writing or lose sight of the end.

    • cgcoppola says:

      No. That would drive me insane. Too many projects would have me pulling out my hair and I’ve grown quite fond of it. I think I can handle two projects. Maybe.

  25. Madeline Mora-Summonte says:

    Maybe they need to make stronger stress balls for writers? 🙂

    I usually have one novel/novella/bigger project going on at the same time as a couple of smaller projects. Maybe not all your characters need novels when they first appear? Maybe they’d be happy with some scenes or shorter stories until you can give them your full attention?

    • cgcoppola says:

      They SHOULD have strong stress balls for writers. Is this a thing? Can I buy this somewhere?

      And maybe. I thought Josh would be a short story – 7500 words tops. I definitely didn’t plan on setting out on such an adventure with him. But he switched his game and was like, “nope! Just kidding. Keep writing.”

  26. Beverly says:

    Love your post. I’ve met characters like that, and I usually listen to them. That’s the reason I’m writing three different stories now, revising two others and have notes for a couple more, in addition to a couple of stories I started years ago but now are calling to me to finish them. I just can’t refuse their whiney voices.
    Happy writing.

  27. Stephanie Rose Bird says:

    I love your creative way of naming this concept–one that we all think about. It is a very familiar issue for me. I’m a professional artist, am known for my nonfiction but am trying to break into fiction. I’m a serial cheater, LOL! I’m visiting from IWSG. My advice is to allot time during certain days and times for each book and topic you want to write and have at it. I do that and it works quite well.

  28. J.L. Campbell says:

    Yup, the push ones do get heard first, like this series I’m now in the middle of that I didn’t intend to start writing for a while. 🙂 Take care of Josh and then settle back in with the others, unless you have a looming deadline.

  29. Margo Berendsen says:

    Arrow vs Batman??? That is a hard choice!

    I’ve never thought of my writing quite the same way, but I think I’ve cheated on a couple characters I’ve been in a relationship with, too!

  30. EE Giorgi says:

    I think it’s totally ok to have multiple projects so long as you know you’ll eventually finish them. If that;s the case, then follow your muse because your characters will be at their very best when you have that fresh inspiration in mind. If you start seeing that you have a million puppets at yoru fingers and none gets finished, then i would start worrying and maybe start putting some discipline into that muse of yours. 😉 LOL, but don’t scare her away! best of luck 🙂

  31. jennienzor says:

    I have two projects I’m working on right now, although they’re both in revisions. I work on one till I come to a good stopping point and then work on the other. Recently I was working on project A and realized I just wasn’t inspired. So, since I don’t have a contract, I switched over to project B and my writing just flowed. Perhaps by the time I finish project B’s revisions, I will be inspired to work on project A again.
    Sometimes it’s good to ignore the voices, if they’re just distracting you or keeping you from finishing, but at the same time writing should bring you joy. That’s how I’m making my choices right now, since I don’t “have to” write anything.

  32. Tamara Narayan says:

    I’ve wanted to start a new novel for months, but other obligations (both writing and non-writing) draggin’ me away. So I scribble notes and daydream about the new characters and their story. By the time I actually start typing, I’ll have most of the thing worked out.

  33. Adrienne Reiter says:

    It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught. 😉 I’m constantly juggling projects. If I dont I get board. I have writer’s ADD, somehow things still get done. Funny post! Cheers!

  34. Shell Flower says:

    Yay, another wino! Nice to meet you. I wish I had a wine cellar, too. I wish I had characters dropping by to tempt me, as well. Lately, I’ve been so unmotivated in the writing area, but I’ve been much more active and healthy, though, so I guess it’s a trade off. Enjoy your muse, wherever it takes you.

    • cgcoppola says:

      She’s leading me astray, that muse. But I’m glad to meet another Wino as well. You’re characters will return when you’re both ready. 🙂

  35. Gwen Gardner says:

    Haha! I loved your analogy. I tend to work on one project at a time, but when those voices start talking in my head, I write down what they have to say for the future when I’m not already committed.

  36. Mason T. Matchak says:

    I think this is different for every writer – some people can work on multiple projects at once, others have to focus on one at a time. I’m in the latter group; apparently I’m not just mentally hard-wired for monogamy when it involves people. 😛 But I think what’s most important is that you go with what feels right for you. This is an art, not a science, and there’s no one way that works for everyone. Hell, there’s no one way that works for one person every time. So just go with it. ^_^

    Besides, Batman already knows Arrow hit on you. He’s Batman.

  37. SittieCates says:

    Hi there! Thanks for the blog visit!

    For me, it’s OK to have multiple projects as long as they’re all moving forward. I’ve got a few I’m working on. A little here, a little there moves it along nicely. 🙂

  38. Angela Wooldridge says:

    Hi Caitlin,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I totally understand where you are; I’m itching to write Eve’s story, but I have to stay true to Harriet, and meanwhile Kelly has a timely opportunity. >Sigh<
    Eve's been there for a while now though, so I know she's a 'stayer', she'll wait while I do Harriet justice, and in fact provides the carrot to keep going and get on with things.
    Good luck whatever you decide and just be careful you don't turn into one of those people who love the chase but can't knuckle down to a long term relationship, I mean now you're just worrying about Fallon & Reid vs Josh & Marie, but what about when Sam and Tina turn up??
    Great post by the way – I'll be back!

  39. Melissa Maygrove says:

    I don’t really have that problem. I occasionally get an idea for a story I’m not ready to write. I make a document, jot down the idea or scene or whatever, and then tuck it away for later. I guess, for those who have multiple things vying for their time, the ‘how many projects’ question is one each writer has to answer for themselves.

    Perhaps the thing to ponder is why this other idea is drawing you away. Is it that the inspiration is so strong, you can’t ignore it, or is it that you’re looking for an excuse to set the first WIP aside? Do you have problems finishing projects in general? If so, it might be the latter.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂

  40. Michael Pierce says:

    I know a lot of writers who work on multiple projects simultaneously to keep their interest and momentum going strong. I don’t see a problem with it. If you’re gonna cheat, might as well make it on a character than an actual person. Go where your heart leads you! 🙂

  41. Juneta says:

    I am always for following the Muse, cheating or not.

    Thank you for stopping by for visit. I became ill with horrible virus on IWSG day. If I had not already written my posted I would have miss the posting. That why its take so long to get back to you. I really appreciate your comments. Hope you have a great day. /Writer’s Gambit Juneta

  42. Anna Soliveres says:

    First, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. 🙂 To your post, I couldn’t stop giggling because I did something similar. Which is the cause for my dual series: The Modi and the Snow Doll series. I just couldn’t stick to one…because the other story DEMANDED to be told. It was the hardest thing for me, but I knew I wasn’t done with the first series and that I would absolutely come back to finish it. So…my wine cellar is empty and my guilt severe. But oy…I’m happy too. 🙂

  43. ahtdoucette says:

    I think you may need to sit down with all your WIPs at once and agree to have an open-relationship. Or maybe, well, it’s kind of private but you could even do a cross-over story or two, like a … story-swapping. But only if you’re comfortable with that kind of thing. I won’t judge. 🙂
    In all seriousness, I usually have three or four projects going on at anyone time, and the secret is to not let any of them know about the others. And try to ignore the fact that they may have other writers on the side too. And it’s all good.
    I’m going to stop now before I get any more silly. Definitely need to get my head out of the wine cellar.

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