I think it’s pretty safe to say that if you’re all like me, you’ve got half a dozen- that’s a very kind estimate- projects scattered around unfinished. Or maybe the first draft is done, but you haven’t gone back in and sifted out the gold. Maybe you’ve got half-completed paintings laying around, half-composed songs that went awry somewhere…any of those things.
Then, you probably have your current project. Maybe you laid the rest aside for the one and it’s going swimmingly, and it’s the best thing you could’ve ever done. But maybe that old project lurks in the back of your mind, or maybe there’s a sense of failure at not completing it, or maybe even guilty springings-up of desire to return to it, despite your current work.
I’m hard at work on the Novel that Scares Me, and even though its very slow going, I’m usually adding a thousand words a day or so. But last night I was so overwhelmed that I pulled out the draft of The Sea Between Eternity and Time- remember that April novel, that monstrosity? I revised the first 15 thousand words, and something came alive again. I remembered why I wrote those books, to escape, but also why I need to press on in this one, because reality isn’t something you can just run from, always.
So, my advice? Go with it. Finish everything you start, even if you think you’ll never use it, but don’t be afraid to intersperse it with the projects that give you amazing joy. That’s how you balance the burden and gift of creativity.