Posted by: oneyearbook | April 4, 2009

The lure of the path not taken

A glimpse of another world ... it's hard to resist

A glimpse of another world ... it's hard to resist

Sometimes, working diligently away on one project, I catch a glimpse of another idea that seems so much more fascinating – or commercially viable – or artistically fulfilling – or just plain old’ easier. Sometimes these are just ideas for other literary novels, which I type up and file away, content in knowing that they are next in line when I’m done with this one. But some of them are like irresistible glimpses down side alleys and winding trails that just beg to be followed: projects of a different sort entirely, like a three-act play, or a movie script, or the idea for a great graphic novel, another attempt at the short story form, or the next bestselling beach read commercial romance novel.

I get my little glimpse of these, and they whisper, “Don’t worry – you could work on us at the same time as you work on the main novel. Late afternoons, you need a break, you can work on us.  We promise not to be a big distraction …”

Then it’s three days later and I’m embroiled in writing a five-act rock opera that won’t permit me to stop, or thundering away at the first draft of a short story, promising to get back on track in “just five more minutes.” (Rock opera is an exaggeration. That’s never happened. I penned part of a musical with my college roommate once, although I think the topic – pantyhose – probably wasn’t carrying us all the way to Broadway.) And so while I have pondered the possibility of a side project (there really is a fast-paced romance novel plotline bashing around in my brain), something to whip me into a creative froth whenever I’m not hard at work on the opus, I so far have avoided doing so. The problem with side projects is that you don’t know where they’ll lead you, and by then, you’re lost, and it’s far too late to find the way back.

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