Cupcake and Sugar Pea

After school, instead of walking home, my seven-year-old has taken to riding — horseback riding, that is. She alternates between two imaginary horses — Cupcake and Sugar Pea. Her horses trot and canter. They gallop and run like the wind.

Actually, that’s not quite true. Cupcake runs like the wind. Sugar Pea is a little slower. She prefers to stop and smell the clover. Cupcake, by contrast, loves jumping over imaginary fences, the wind whipping at her mane. Their styles are so different, I never have to ask my daughter which horse she’s chosen. I just say, “Wow, Cupcake’s fast!” or “What does Sugar Pea think of the lilacs?”

I’m a lot like my daughter. I write best when I have at least two projects going at once. For example, right now I’m working on two very different picture books, several poems and a handful of blog posts. And, just as my daughter alternates ponies, based on mood, I alternate projects, based on interest, deadlines, or variety. Not only does this keep my writing fresh, it allows the pieces I’m not working on to rest, so that I can return to them with new eyes.

Keeping several horses in the stable, keeps me energized and happy as a writer. It also reduces writer’s block because I always have something in process. If one piece isn’t working, I simply take out another horse for the day. What about you? Are you a one-horse writer or do you prefer to keep several horses in your stable?


13 thoughts on “Cupcake and Sugar Pea”

  1. I’m with you — I always have a few different projects going on, and am also energized by the variety of my work each day!

    1. Thanks for replying. I wonder if the length of a project makes a difference in how many projects a writer likes to have going at once. Maybe MG and YA writers tend to have fewer projects going on at once. Not sure, just wondering aloud.

  2. Love this metaphor for being a multi-tasker! Actually, I think I just love the image of your daughter galloping home on her imaginary horses! 😉

    Unfortunately, I’m a one-horse-at-a-time kinda gal. I like having multiple things on the go, and switch around occasionally, but I find working on a different project sucks all of my energy and thoughts, so it’s hard to jump back and forth regularly.

  3. I think I’m a “one horse at time” gal too! I certainly like to put things away and let them rest. But when I am working on something, I get very focused on it–and cannot seem to focus on much else. Interesting post– I always find a writer’s process to be the most fascinating thing… 🙂

  4. I’m a several horse writer. I’m working on novel, a book of poetry, and couple of picture books. I find having different projects keeps me mind always creating something new. On the down side it takes me a long time to get anything done!

  5. Great post, Laura!

    I love the names Cupcake and Sugar Pea, too! Sooo cute!

    I think I’m a one horse at a time kind of girl, too. I get easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating on more than on project at a time. Lately though, my only horse has been haiku. I guess you could say that my haiku horse has been competing in a lot of different events though! 🙂

  6. I loved your piece about Cupcake and Sugar Pea. So cute. I’d probably just be riding Sugar Pea as I’m slow and detail oriented and like to work on one project at a time. But from time to time, i might take a ride on Cupcake as ideas come into my mind unrelated to my wip that simply must be written down.

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