Passion for a project can keep me going for a long time. At some point, I have to force myself to move on (even if only temporarily) to a different story. Staying with the same characters, the same plot, or the same settings can curtail my creativity. To keep things fresh, and keep my mind from contracting to one set of circumstances, I have to change up what I’m working on.
My debut novel, Fantastic America, has been my focus for most of the past three years. But even with it, I’ve changed my focus with short stories, and my foray into Midwestern Magicians for NanoWrimo. Now I’m taking a break again (briefly) to write a completely new story with an actual deadline and everything. I’m not a fan of working under pressure (I put enough of that on myself).
This doesn’t mean I will stop querying Fantastic America or thinking about how I might improve my pitch for it. But for a few weeks, I’ll be building a new world, and writing a new story. I started with a writing prompt (something else I don’t usually do) and had the bare bones of the story worked out in less than twenty minutes.
What started out as a lark of a thought experiment grew into a full fledged story that I was pulled into. When I grin at how well a few ideas come together, I have to follow the rabbit hole. I may not see how deep it goes this time, but I can visit again later and dig as deep as I want.
Like En Vogue said, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”