Writing multiple WIPs simultaneously

Dear authors, do you work on multiple WIPs at once? If so, how is it going for you? Is it a lose-lose situation, or do you make it work?

I’ve been writing my WIP, and It’s been going well so far — check it out (Shameless plug lol)

The problem is that I have this nagging voice in my head in the form of another idea for a game. I tried to ignore it because I want to focus on my current WIP, but it’s getting worse, lol.

So, do you think it’s possible to handle more than one current wip simultaneously?


Not and get anything done. Try folding the idea into the current one instead.


@CC_Hill cough


I’ve tried to, but I had to keep my focus on one project at a time.

When I get new story ideas percolating inside my head, I do take the time to outline/story-board the idea, so that I can go back to focusing on my one active project.

If I need a day away from my project but still want to write, I will write a bit of creative writing based on those ideas in the wings. This creative writing is not anything that can bloom into a new project.

So, is it possible? Yes. Can I, personally, manage two (or more) projects at once? No.


Followed that advice instinctively a while ago. It helped for a time, but I think it also made the need to write the other WIP stronger :sob:


I mean, I’m incapable of writing multiple words simultaneously, so obviously I can’t literally work on multiple projects at the same time. I may focus on different ones on different days though.


Two is a good number for me. If you’re getting burnt out on one, it may help to switch to the other. I’m working on two now (I’ll make a WIP thread for the other once my first published game is out).

But two should be the maximum. Any more and you’re probably spreading yourself too thin.

I’ll bite.


I’ve tried to, it went great up until I had to actually work on the outline. Then I realized I still have that main project to get back to…
When vibes are great and you are doing scenes you have in mind, it works - and I don’t fight it, I write those scenes down and put them in a folder for later. But no story’s gonna sustain itself on vibes.


I consistently have a million ideas at once, and the intense need to work on them all. What’s worked for me is to pick one to be the “primary” story (L:COTS) and then work on the others sporadically. This allows me to get the other projects out of my system (because ignoring them just makes my work on my primary project slower). It also sets me up to have more games down the line.

Meanwhile, I’m very disciplined about working on my main project (it’s currently at 300k+ words). So, I have to work on the main story no matter what, but I take 1-2 days a month to write other stuff. It kind of releases a pressure valve in my head in both directions: working on something different lets my brain rest and come back to my main project refreshed, and I get a little boost of dopamine or whatever by having side projects I regularly “play hooky” from, because I only write for them occasionally. (I suspect the reason this last part is so helpful is that if I don’t have to be disciplined everywhere, it’s easier to be disciplined in one place, i.e. my main project).

That’s my method, anyway. Good luck with your WIPs :slight_smile:


Lol, have you tried astral projecting?

So by having more than one wip “live” at once, do you feel like they both get your full attention or one suffers?

Yeah, I think that’s reasonable. Why do you wait to publish what you have for the second project, if I may ask?


The WIP I’m currently working on is Dragon of Steelthorne 2, the sequel to my first game, which is in the publishing process now. It’s over 50k words long as of this writing, so I could create the WIP thread now, but I’m planning to do so a little after the release of the first game, when interest is (hopefully) running high.

Creating a WIP thread is more about marketing than beta-testing sometimes, so timing is important.


I don’t have any WIPs live, per se, I need to finish the story first before showing it. But I would say that none gets my full attention, they all suffer equally. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be able to give my full attention to a project even if I had only one, because I simply couldn’t focus enough.


If the itch gets unbearable I create a brain dump (aka “vomit” document). I agree with @ChanceOfFire, two projects is a good compromise. You can switch between them to avoid burnout. But I’m also like @LiliArch, I couldn’t give it my 100% focus even if I had a single project. :joy:


I will say the same thing I always say when someone mentions this: don’t do it. If you have not published at least one complete game before, double don’t do it. The moment I see an unpublished author introduce a second WIP I mentally write off both stories as forever incomplete.


If it’s prose, multiple WIPs are possible, though you may still find yourself with crossed wires sometimes.

If it’s IF? Absolutely not. That is a recipe for disaster and half-baked goods.

One thing you can try, when you get those ideas, is writing a short 200-400 word synopsis and saving it in a folder on your desktop, titled “Plot Bunnies” or something similar.


I’m not an author and I am, sadly, purely incapable of coding.

But I’ve been here for about a year now, watching and supporting several authors along the way. I’ve seen plenty of authors make a WIP and, in the middle of it, move onto another story.

Sometimes, it works. For example, Bacondoneright, the nutjob behind I, The Forgotten One, was working on ITFO and Whiskey-Four, if I’m remembering correctly, at the same time. ITFO released and was loved. It’s a very enjoyable game. And from what I’ve gathered (I have not jumped into myself yet), Whiskey-Four is turning out just as great. I don’t know how he does it, honestly.

Then there’s bl00dragon. This creature is working on The Wight King and Shattered: Oblivion. Both stories have gotten substantial updates and don’t show signs of slowing down. The neat thing, IMO, is that both stories are based in the same world but at different times. That, in my mind, must help with figuring out the story and the history of the world.

Then there are others that start more than one and vanish after a couple of months… and that’s ignoring the authors that get overwhelmed by a single title they’re working on.

I think the most important thing is learning your own capabilities with workload and starting small. Get yourself used to managing a single project and try squeezing another into the cracks if you find the time and drive. Don’t try a 50/50 split. More like, 95/5 or 85/15 if its something you really want to do.

I may not be an author, but I’ve managed plenty of my own professional projects in my career. Project management is NOT to be taken lightly. In my mind, its more daunting than the actual hands-on aspect of any job. But if you can do it, I don’t see any reason to limit yourself beyond your own capabilities. Just figure out where those are first.

The last thing I want to see, as a fan of IF and a friend to all authors, is people overwhelming themselves and losing interest in their project(s). Moving on and losing interest is one thing, nothing to be done about that. But overwhelming stress can be solved and managed. And one of the best ways to lose control is to stack projects on top of each other.

Personally, I know if I started working on two entire stories at once, I’d get confused pretty quickly and have trouble separating the two in my head. But that’s me and my brain. Do what you want, always, but keep in mind that project management can be a real bitch.

EDIT: I could have sworn Bacon was working on the final chapters of ITFO while doing work on Whiskey. But I could be wrong. Enough people have made me question my memory at this point. Still a nutjob author.


Having done it myself, I would generally not recommend it unless you have a regular writing schedule that you usually stick to, you’re certain the projects are manageable in scope, and you have experience with finishing at least one project before. It’s really easy to lose momentum in the middle of a project once the initial excitement-high fades, and get tempted to move onto something else, but 99% of the time it’s impossible to keep the same level of internal hype the whole way through.

I recommend keeping notes about setting, plot, and character ideas and perhaps fleshing them out a bit when they come up in your mind. Getting them down on paper makes them less distracting, and you can easily return to them later that way.


Depends on how far you are. If your early in writing then unless you got that block then no. If youre near the end of your IF, don’t see how that would be difficult.

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I think W4 began when ITFO (now ITF1) was complete and went to beta (or in the queue). It wasn’t like he was writing them both from the ground up at the same time.