I want to address a specific issue with this post. I’m not talking about how to use writing prompts or overcome blocks. I’m focusing instead on when to move on to your next project.
Let me set the stage.
You’ve finished a major project. Perhaps, you’ve finished your November novel. You’ve taken it through the paces. You may have sent it out or are scouting for an agent. In any case, you’re in between work.
It’s kind of lonely, isn’t it?
The Best Advice
No matter where you go next, it makes sense to take a break from your opus. You need the distance to self-edit properly. You also need time to forget the wording you’d like to add that is already there to avoid repeating it elsewhere in your work.
The whole business of editing is another animal altogether. I’m homing in on the writer’s perspective.
I was inspired to write this post after reading a discussion about how writers manage their works. Some like to be a part of the publishing process as much as possible. Others prefer to drop it off and move on to the next.
There’s a lot to be said for the latter if you have that luxury.
Knowing When to Pick Up the Pen
The next question is knowing when to take on the next project. You may feel attached to your baby. After all, you’ve likely spent a lot of time with it. And you’ve fallen in love with your characters and settings. How could you leave?
My advice is to wait.
Listen to your heart. Let your work continue to speak to you. Do your edits. Stay with it as long as you need but then, get ready to move on from it.
I can only speak from my experience but maybe you can relate. When I’m in the midst of a fiction piece, my characters constantly speak to me. The Muse has her say about the plot and obstacles. The voices quiet as the work comes to a close. But then something marvelous happens.
New characters start to get their voices. Scenes start to form in my mind’s eye. I hear dialogue. I think about plots and scenes. I try to picture characters. My protagonist has already revealed himself to me. I have the mere sentence describing a plot.
It’s the start of a new mystery.
Letting it Happen
I haven’t heard a lot from the Muse, but something is in the works. Once the current distractions settle down, I’ll invite her in for a good chat. We’ve got this. The next story is on the horizon.
And so the process begins again.