Last week on my Editorial Advice blog, Michelle had a really great question: How do I juggle them and still make sure they are as polished as they can be (and still have time to eat and sleep)?
She was involved in several different rounds of edits and a work in progress. I answered her the simplest way I knew how: Prioritize. I thought it merited a deeper look.
I work two part-time jobs, have children who will soon be 3 and 5, two dogs, and a spouse. I freelance edit for two publishers and I write. Trust me, there isn't enough time in the day to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I'm sure many of you have very busy lives, too. Sadly, things don't take care of themselves. (Stupid laundry! Wash yourself!)
So how do I do it? Like I said, I prioritize. What has the closest deadline? That one is obviously the most important, so I work on that. Things will be sacrificed, they have to. No one can do it all. So, if that work in progress isn't due, you might have to put it away for a while. I know it's more fun to create a new story and meet new characters than it is to reread a story for the third or forth time, but (I assume) that one is being published. That one is going out to the world! As soon as you're done, work on something else. Time management is extremely important.
It's not a secret that the publishing world moves slightly faster than erosion, which means there's a lot of down time between projects. Use that to get all of the stuff off your plate. While one story is with the editor, work on something else. After I've sent an author their edits, I work on my own stuff. Sometimes, I break the day up. I'll spend a couple hours working on edits, then another couple hours working on something new.
Don't ever forget to take some time off. You will burn out if you don't. Even if it's just a day or afternoon, it's always good to recharge!