Stephanie Spector of the Roanoke Review (online site) Interviews Jan Bowman (January 2015) about her multiple writing projects.
Stephanie: I’m taken by the organization of your personal website. You currently have quite a few projects lined up. Is it always like this? Do you work on your projects simultaneously?
Jan: Yes. I always work on multiple projects over the course of a year. I set up quarterly goals (which are broad and never really completed) and objectives (which are specific and measureable components under those goals). I try to focus on completing some each quarter. For example, a broad goal: “to improve my writing” this quarter has as an objective: “to improve plot structure in a specific story (“The New Math”) that I hope to complete as a first draft by the end of November. Stories that I work on seem to sort themselves into topics and that has guided my list of current collections under development. I can’t seem to consciously decide to write a story for one of these topics. Nothing happens when I try to do that. It’s only later after I’ve written a couple of new stories, that I see how my unconscious mind is moving me in a particular direction toward these projects. I am respectful of the process. But the process goes slower than it would if I were doing something as simple as baking a cake, planting a garden or planning a trip. Also other stories pop up that don’t fit those categories so when I begin to have a cluster of those, I’ll see a pattern unfolding for new projects.