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June 6, 2017

For some of us, we can only work on one issue at a time. It’s called focus.

For others, we can multitask.

I’ve been known to work on a novel, which I’m doing right now. At the same time, I actively write these blog articles, work the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observer’s Challenge, used to write weekly autobiographical articles for the now defunct Let’s Talk Nevada, and would still throw out the odd short story to submit to my writer’s group’s annual anthology. I’d even occasionally knock out the occasional short story, juss cuzz.

It all boils down to that burst of inspiration and a willingness to see it through.


A dilemma every writer finds themselves in is when they get the sudden burst of inspiration, and it doesn’t fit with what they’re currently working on, what to do? It’s a matter of either hitting the brakes on the current project or trying to preserve that inspiration so you can come back to it later. Or…work several simultaneously?

Will that inspiration still be there in a week, month, year?

Will you still want to revisit it at a later date?

Will it still have the same impact later?

For many of us, the answer may be no.

Now, ask yourself, can this new idea be used in your current project?


Oh…kay. Now what?

Does it warrant a short story or does it require a longer form?

Once you make those determinations, maybe, just maybe you can either stop what you’re doing, take care of it, or maybe write it all down and come back to it after you finish your current project. Or, maybe come to a breaking point where you can stop what you’re doing long enough to scratch this itch.


I know, there are some of you that are going to lose out. You have to focus. You get a great inspiration, but it doesn’t fit your current project. You try writing it down and intend to come back to it. Several weeks, months, a year later, you find your note, but by now, you can’t grab that brass ring again. That idea that sounded so great is gone now. Those wonderful ideas you had racing through your head are gone, lost in the ether.

Oh well…

If you’d stopped your current project and followed your muse for this new thing, would that have messed up what you originally started on?

No sense worrying over something you have no control over.

For those of you that cannot multitask, the best I can tell you is write down these nuggets of inspiration and HOPE they come back. That’s all you can do. If they come back, fine. If they don’t, do NOT lose any sleep over it.

Other ideas will come along.

Time to move on.


No two people process things the same way. Even if writing is a passion, the creativity and inspiration comes to us in different ways. We have to learn how it works best for us as individuals. It makes no sense to beat ourselves up about how we get our ideas but to learn to work with them.

If focus on one idea is how you have to work, go for it. If you get that sudden idea, record it and hope you can get back the same feeling later when you can concentrate on it. If not, move on to something else.

If you can multitask, by all means, take a break from your current project and wail away.

Happy writing!

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