Wanted: Hot, new idea to take me away from this drab, old thing.

So right in the middle of a project is when you tend to get your best ideas – for other projects. I’m stuck in the last 100 pages of my novel’s first draft, and I have come up with at least three great new short story ideas. I think it’s your brain’s way of trying to shake you out of the rut when you’ve been stuck muddling around in the late-middle of a project.

And of course, there’s nothing that burns so hot in your brain as the idea when it comes upon you full force, when your head reels with all the cool things you can do with it. All the connections that leap to the front. How x connects to y connects to z. And then bring in the Aztecs or that cool fact about coral reefs you just read. Or this word you’ve been dying to use in a story.

We’ll get to the boring “But why would he do that?”, “How exactly would that work?”, and “But why wouldn’t he just use his cell phone?” questions later. When the idea pops into your brain, it’s good to go ahead and just purge it. Write the thoughts out in your notebook. Let you brain make those connections while it’s hot, and then put the notes away and try to get back to your main project.

I’ll let you know when I can take my own advice.

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