This past month, when I had three other writing projects going, a new story idea sprang to life. Not only that, it roared and flailed and gnashed until it forced me to jot down ideas – which I did, in submission, in a notebook.
These scenes, bits of dialog, and possible themes continue to flow and I face the common writer’s temptation – do I ditch my old, “stale” projects and follow this new muse? And if I don’t go with it now, when will I ever have that momentum back?
The answer: National Novel Writing Month
In my view, you can either approach the month of November with a blank slate and a dose of dread, then squeak out a daily word count in misery. OR you can let a current idea simmer until then. Simmer while characters reveal themselves, subplots present themselves and true stories rise to the surface of a pot of bubbling ideas that you season and stir (please pardon the mixed metaphor – imagine the flailing gnashing beast in the boiling pot, if you will) without the 30-day pressure AND without the pain of having ditched a current project for a new love.
Without that pressure, my mind and story are free to take twists and turns and detours I might feel less compelled to explore with a daily word count looming. But here’s the real kicker, without engaging in the actual writing of the novel, I’m keeping that energy, that honeymoon with my idea, fresh long enough to LOVE fleshing it out. Creativity can’t always blossom in a pressure cooker. But it can when I’m in my “I can’t wait ’til November” state of mind.
So if you have an idea that just can’t wait – you might just want to make it wait, until November. And in the meantime, let it roar and snarl and gnash itself out of captivity right into a notebook. Make your idea work for November. When then, it will get the attention it deserves.