What kind of a writer are you?
Are you the type of writer who works on 1 novel manuscript at a time? That’s the way my friend Kris works. She starts working on a novel, contemplating the plot, getting to know her characters, studying her setting. Then she starts writing ahd that the only thing that she writes. She may shift to something else briefly if she gets a rewrite request from her agent, but normally she works on that one piece until it is ready to send to her agent.
Maybe you’re a writer who has 6 different manuscripts going at once. Jane Yolen told me that she tends to work on several different manuscripts at once. When she gets stuck on one she sets it aside and focuses on another.
I used to think that this was how I worked because I might be noodling over one, researching another, and writing a third. But then I realized something. Although I’ve got a fiction piece in progress, a nonfiction book in the works, my blog posts, and an article for CBI, when it is time to get something done, than that piece is the one I focus on. Sure, I may be researching a new nonfiction book while working on that fiction, but once I have a deadline in hand, all other big projects go by the wayside. Yes, I still blog but I generally focus on one book manuscript at a time.
The reality is that there is no one way to work. We each have different work habits, schedules and demands on our time. The key is to find a way to write that works for you. It doesn’t matter what works for Kris, me or even Jane Yolen. Whether you write in long hand or type it out on the computer, work on one manuscript at a time or ten, you have to find what works for the one and only you.