Every time I finish a writing project and put myself on hiatus, I end up feeling all weird and anxious and like I’m forgetting to do something really important.

It’s much worse this time, because I’ve become so disciplined about writing that now I feel almost a bit lost. I have other writing projects I’m looking at, trying to determine which of them should be the next one I focus on. But the casualness of it, without a deadline, without a sense of urgency…it feels strange.

As hard as it can get sometimes, as hard as it was there toward the end, I miss that pace. It’s an odd reversal – I used to miss the phase I’m in now, where I’m exploring different stories and generating ideas. It is a fun place to be, but makes me feel a bit unmoored.

Creativity can exist within a structure. I know that sounds counterintuitive, and there was a time when I would have scoffed at anyone who tried to tell me as much. But it can, and does, and fully embracing that brought noticeable changes in my ability to generate.

That, and understanding every story has its own personality and own process. I don’t try to use a one-size-fits-all solution anymore. So that furthers that unmoored feeling until I commit to a story and then find that story’s rhythm. Understand those characters’ needs. Know how to build a structure around it that won’t make it feel choked and stifled.

So here I am, on a break from my main WIP, exploring what the next one could possibly be, and feeling a bit out of sorts even though I am excited that I’m making real progress in a way I never have prior to the last few years.

I suppose periodically feeling like I’m drifting is part of that. What is writing, if not a giant exercise in “how many different ways can I push myself outside my comfort zone?”

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