I have finished several things, all at once, as I tend to do, and now I am taking a breath and – and here’s the joy – deciding what to do next.
I have several ideas for different things.
I could write a second middle-grade fiction book.
I could take the three chapters I have completed of a new novel and get stuck into that.
I could look at all the notes I wrote down sometime during last year’s NaNoWriMo when my burst of creativity begat an idea for a whole different story.
The lure of the new writing idea can be so strong.
I remember attending a talk with author Kate Forsyth earlier this year when she was asked if she’s ever distracted by a new idea mid-project.
“Always,” she answered.
I don’t know a single writer who does not have a much-better (read: brilliant) idea for a new book about halfway through a current WIP. When you’re slogging your way through the middle of a story, any and every idea looks bright and shiny.
The best advice I ever received about this particular moment is to focus on what you’re doing. Write down that bright, shiny new idea and then get back to the slog.
How Kate Forsyth avoids getting distracted by a new writing idea
“I write down every single thing I can think of in a big notebook,” said Kate. “I draw pictures and maps and write detailed character descriptions. And then I close the book and put it in a drawer.”
When the time comes – the lull in proceedings, such as I am experiencing now – she simply pulls out that notebook (or two or three, for she is prolific in her ideas as well as her words) and starts writing. So she never has to wonder what she’s doing to do next, for there is always a project waiting in the wings.
“And that’s why my publisher loves me,” said Kate.
I’m going to shuffle through my projects in my head for a week or two (AKA The School Holidays) and then I’ll be ready to begin again.
With something bright and shiny and new.
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