Bridging the Gap: Moving from Piece to Piece

Hello there!  I was going to do another food blog this week, but I think I’ll save it for next week.  Since I recently sent my novel out to readers for feedback, I’ve forbidden myself from even looking at it (it’s not fair to my readers if I change things before they have a chance to critique what I’ve sent), so I’m trying to work on a collection of fairytale retellings.  Trying being the operative word.  So, I want to talk a little about shifting gears for new pieces.

Back when all I wrote were short stories, I had very little problem switching to a new project, but things have changed.  I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve spent so long in my novel’s world or what, but this is basically the most terrifying thing in my world right now.

A wild blank page appeared!

Yes, a blank page.  I have ideas galore, but when I see this, they all up and run away on me.  I can’t be the only one with this problem, right?  So, how do you deal with it?  (Legit asking because I’m still trying to figure it out.)  Also, why is it so scary when you have a plethora of ideas to work on?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit down and let the ideas duke it out as I stare at the page (that’s even scarier), I pick one and sit down with the intention of focusing on it.  It’s a very confusing time for me.

I’ve tried a couple of tactics to combat the blank mind as well as the blank page.  The first thing was to take a day away from writing.  Normally, a day without writing is enough to recharge and start building new stories in my head, but the blank page prevailed.  My second go-to plan is to suck it up and push through it.  So far, this has gotten me 1500 words over three days (no, that’s not good!).  It’s like pulling teeth to get the words out, and it’s getting harder instead of easier.

Them feels, though.

Don’t worry.  I didn’t come here just to complain, I came to share tactics for moving on.  The ones above just didn’t work for me this time.  Next up, after I force my way through the current story of doom, if I’m still having issues, I’ll revert to free writing and using writing prompts until jumping around feels natural again (plus, I’ll get new story ideas if I’m lucky).  The only reason I didn’t try this first is because I’m not a fan of aimless writing.  It feels like I’m wasting time, even though I know that’s not the case.  In other words, even if you’re like me and think everything should work towards something, but you’re struggling, try the aimless course.  No pressure words tend to flow easier.  Use it to your advantage.  And bonus: you get new story ideas!

Another thing…  Part of me wonders if it would be easier to start something new if it was in the same world as the last, like a sequel or something.  I suppose I’ll find out one day.  Enough about me, what about you?  What are your tactics for switching between projects?  Feel free to share!

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