Writing focus – Single project or Occasional Diversion?

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks and that’s because I’ve been making pretty solid progress on my second book (still no title.)

So why am I writing a blog post now? Has book 2 has come grinding to a halt?

Well, to quote the great philosopher of our time, Reverend Lovejoy. “Short answer, yes with an if. Long answer, no with a but.”

It’s not exactly that I have writer’s block, more a mild case of writer’s inconvenient obstructions. A whole bunch of little hurdles and plot points I need to overcome before my story gets to where I need it to go. I know that the only way to get past these small annoyances is to sit my arse in a chair and write the bollocks out of them, and I intend to do that, but I feel a small diversion is in order to freshen up my mind. 

This is a tactic I’ve been using quite a lot over the last week and I am not sure if it’s ingenious or imbecilic. Whenever I’ve run into a bit of trouble with my novel, I’ve opened up a new file and written something completely different, generally a very short story/flash fiction.

On the one hand, I think this has definitely helped my story telling. It’s also allowed me to experiment with different genres and to try some really inventive things that, as a novel-writing newbie, I wouldn’t dare use as the basis of a long story.

On the other, it feels a bit like I’m halfway round a marathon course and have decided to ease the pain in my legs by running some intensive sprints. Surely if I’m writing a book, I should just write the bloody book. I mean writing 100,000 words plus is tough enough without pissing half your daily word count away into some experimental 2nd person love-story, narrated by an unreliable cactus and the ghost of an unborn puppy.

So, what are your thoughts? When you have a project, do you focus solely on that or do you sprinkle some shorter works into your schedule? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Chris C Barnett



8 thoughts on “Writing focus – Single project or Occasional Diversion?

  1. You got this, mate! I’ve heard that many authors do what you’re doing (writing separate pieces when stumbling blocks arise), and it seems reasonable. The best way I overcome writer’s block is by sitting my butt down and writing! I tend to stick with my main work, but if branching out helps you, go for it! Thanks for sharing this. I’m also writing a novel, so any insight is valuable. It’s always cool seeing others who are on a similar path. Best of luck with your journey, I’ve just followed so I can keep informed!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ahh I get this- I’m much, much worse about changing projects when I feel stuck with one. I either work on another idea that I’m planning to write ten years down the line, edit an old manuscript, or go off and start a novella. I’ve honestly done all three at the same time! It’s especially bad cos I don’t like writing short stories very much- it would be better if I could write a couple of hundred words and leave it at that! 😉


  3. I find that the more I write of anything the further ahead I get on my pet project, whatever it might happen to be. November is my crazy busy writing month, not by choice, but simply because that’s when NaNoWriMo happens, and I also participate in NaBloPoMo (a novel in a month and a blog post a day). Seems to work for me, but we all have our own methods.

    BB (a pre-published novelist)

    Liked by 1 person

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