Hey there guys, another post whipping its way to you that is once again all about writing projects that aren’t your main focus.
If, like me, your primary writing goal is to finish a novel and get it published, you may also find your mind wandering with new wonderful ideas for completely different stories and worlds. That seems to be happening every other day for me which is a nightmare! When I needed ideas none were to be found, but now I’m 60,000 words deep I’ve got them coming out my… well they’re just everywhere 😛 Usually this would spell disaster for me. I have a god awful habit of starting a project, getting distracted by a newer, shinier idea and moving onto that one, leaving project numero uno in a disheveled state by the side of the road. This can most easily be witnessed in the 3 scarves I am halfway through knitting, along with 4 partially done blankets… One day they’ll get done but first I’m just going to whip up a teapot cosy ok?
But for once in my life I had discipline. NO STARTING OTHER NOVELS TIL THIS ONE IS FINISHED. Period. So I haven’t. But it turns out that the world of creative writing is a wonderful thing and there are millions of different projects I can start that will only take up a day of my time. A nice little rest when I’m struggling on my novel and need a break but still want to keep writing. To be honest sometimes these side endeavors only take an hour! Fantastic.
Recently when I’m feeling bogged down in my novel and just need some time away I’m turning more and more to short stories and flash fiction; something to keep up the writing practice but that won’t take weeks or months to finish. And, bonus, there are tonnes of competitions out there for things like this! I wrote a short story the other day that I will be submitting to the Brighton Prize competition (closes soon, 30th June, check it out here: http://www.brightonprize.com ). So it’s win win!
And all these different forms are inspiring different writing styles in me! The other day a topic inspired me to write and I just knew “I’m going to write a poem about this.” This was such a strange thing because I have never written a poem before (aside from those early secondary school attempts for a creative writing module). But I just knew this was to be in poem format, so I wrote it that way. I’m still not entirely sure that what I’ve written IS actually a poem, having never really delved into this genre, but it looks like a poem so that’s good enough for me! But now, thanks to venturing into different types of writing I have expended my repertoire, something that can never be a bad thing!
So here, what I’m trying to say is don’t spread yourself too thin with major projects that will never get done if you try too many. But small side projects can be a good thing. Perhaps once a week put down your main piece of work and try some short stories or flash fiction or hell, even poetry 😛 You might find you really enjoy it and that it inspires some new ideas for your main book! Also, if you do it regularly, by the time you do finish that novel you could have a nice little anthology all ready to rock and roll. Winner winner!
Hope some of you find this useful and it inspires people to get out there and try something new! 🙂