"When another idea pounces my head, I find it difficult to focus on the current WIP. Therefore, I take a break and let the muse waltze my fingers across the keyboard until I feel satisfied that the "demon" is out of my head and on paper...er...word document. During this break from the main WIP, I maintain in the back of my mind the project I have set out to complete.
By doing this, I find that I can satisfy the hungry inspiration without completely leaving behind the WIP I have determined to finish. It also allows the main WIP to rest, to gel a little. When I come back to it, it feels fresh and different. This works great for the long process of editing a novel when it is completed. Nothing wrong with stepping back for a while before tackling another edit, proof, or rewrite.
Before I came to Nano, I had one novel completed of a four-book series, and about thirty WIP in varying stages of completeness. Never once have I felt I was failing to complete a project. At one time, I felt I would go insane because there were so many stories in my head needing to escape. By writing some on them, relieved some of the pressure.
Also, when I need to take a break, I don't suffer writer's block or discouragement. With so many places to explore in writing, I never fail to have something to work on. I now have three completed novels with about five nearing the finish line.
If it makes you feel any better, something that Stephen King said about his work. He said he "archived" stories as they came to him while working on a WIP. Then, when he finished his WIP, he never lacked for ideas to continue writing without stopping. He would pull another story out and start working on finishing it.
Some people outline, some fly by the tips of their fingers across their keyboards, and that is why no one can really tell us how to write (except for the grammar police). Rowling said she writes what she wants to write. I liked that.
For years, I heard that we should discipline ourselves to write every day. That can become a job, a task rather than the joy we find in writing. However, if we are serious about writing, writing every day won't be a problem. Remember, guilt clouds the muse. So, if you desire to play, go to the movies, or waste a day, do it. You will find sometimes that your writing continues even when you don't. You brain won't let it go and even goes
places your fingers have to run like crazy to catch up to when you get back to writing."
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For many years, I have studied and practiced what the experts, those successful in the craft of writing, had to say. Today, I still take my writing serious, but I don't take everything I read so serious. There are so many handing out the advice - from the writer-wannabe with the MFA fresh in their hands to the seasoned novelist basking in the riches they have acquired - and all of them seem to have the answers for us, that secret to success.
Often times, if not most of the time, a successful writer must be determined regardless of the obstacles in the path. In a survival test I took once, one of the answers to the question of what the most important item from a list was in surviving getting out of the jungle was a machete. Well, sometimes as writers, we have to get a machete and chop our own path through the jungle. Put a new twist on an old idea, or an old idea on a new twist. Regardless, it is our jungle and it is up to us to find our way to success.