Any writer worth their own salt will always have numerous projects going at the same time, or at least in the back of their work-filled brainspace ready to go at any moment. That’s the thing about salt, though…sometimes there isn’t a decent spice to be found at the table. So you’ve got to go shopping.
It’s rare, but it does exist that you will have no projects going at all for a brief period in your writing life. I’ve had it happen before, but it’s important to know that you always have two choices when such an thing occurs:
- Quickly find some way to be creative.
- Pull that eager revolver out of your desk drawer and do some serious thinking.
I hardly recommend the second option, and you’ll never use it unless you have other major issues at hand that are even making you consider that as a minute possibility. Live, dammit. Live, and create!
Personally, I’ve figured a way to always have two projects going simultaneously. Pivoting to a second project for any number of reasons has been both fruitful and a welcome break from what can end up as the being encumbered by the monotony of being emerged in a single project. These reasons can be and are not limited to:
- You hate the current trajectory of your output on the first project.
- It’s hard to figure out all the plot points of your story.
- One or a few of your characters are just outright dickholes.
- You’re trying to figure out how to kill off the dickholes but are just not sure.
One of the best things about creating things is that there’s always something to create. And if you’re hard up for an idea, try doing what filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson does: have two characters sit in a diner drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and build a scene from there. I love this because the two characters could be anyone, and be talking about anything…or they could just be staring at each other with incredible tension and not uttering a single damn word.
I’m finishing up working on American Sag, out in October. Regular posts to @drewisawriter resume on September 8th. Thanks again for your readership.
Questions/Comments? Write me: firstname.lastname@example.org