The Story Muse
In one of the more haunting issues of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman—#17 to be exact—there is a character named Richard Madoc who becomes cursed with more stories than he can possibly write down. Instead of facing writer’s block, he’s dealing with writer’s diarrhea, and he goes quite batshit as a result. It’s a fabulous issue, and completely terrifying in many respects to any author. I recommend it—as I recommend that whole series.
I have not yet achieved Richard Madoc’s level of batshit. But it does seem that I’m getting more ideas for stories than should be allowed. I’ve started several different ones in the past couple of weeks, all of them shiny and new, when I should be working on the book that’s under contract. I’ve been working on it too, of course—but the ideas keep coming. Since I’m kind of a slow writer, I get excited by 2-3,000 words per day when that’s pretty meh for most writers. (I tried writing with Nicole Peeler once. That was an exercise in humility. She wrote like 1,500 words in an hour and I only shat out 553. She is super-fly T.N.T. ) So when I wrote 3K the other day I was ecstatic, until I remembered it wasn’t on my novel, but on a short story for which I’d never be paid. Arrrgh!
No. You know what? Wheee! Writing the stories was fun, damn it! And I am still enough of a newb to find all the writing fun. I’m not sure when I’ll find time to finish the stories, since the beat of the deadline drum grows ever louder, but they do serve to help me blow off some steam when I feel temporarily stymied by events in the book. And that, more than anything, is why I refuse to get too upset by getting distracted. When a book is giving you trouble, working on alternate projects always keeps you productive.
There are days, of course, when nothing helps. On those days, there is pie.