I'm in the thick of editing my novel, but I'm also trying to set large parts of it aside right now so that I can get some distance and consider what it needs. That means that I finally have new story ideas flooding my head for the first time in months. At first I pushed these ideas away; I had to focus on my novel, and there was no time, no energy for other projects. But then I started thinking: why not?
Many writers have said that writing a short story while in the thick of a novel can provide a much-needed break and can help to refresh their writing. It can be truly rejuvenating to focus on a new setting, a new cast of characters, a new style. For a long time, I haven't been able to step outside of the very consistent world I'm trying to create. Now, though, I have an opportunity to try something different. It's a good chance to remind myself that I'm not just a writer of this novel; I'm a writer, period, and when this novel is done I'll have to busy myself writing something else. I might as well start when the mood takes me.
And don't just stop at fiction. When I was a student of writing, I was always being challenged to write in tough new formats; I had to write a one-page autobiography or an acrostic poem; I had to write in the first person or the second. Why not try writing a creative non fiction essay this week, or trying first person instead of third? You'll find yourself excited about writing all over again. It's time to produce work instead of just talking about it.