It usually happens somewhere in the midst of the book I'm trying to finish on deadline. As my relationship with the current book grows rocky, a new idea comes along, seducing me with its attractiveness, its promise not to be difficult, and its possibilities. I want to stop writing the deadline book and write this book instead!

I never do.

Because, well, there's a deadline attached to the book I'm working on and an editor waiting for it. But I've turned in the deadline book, and now the idea is still there, seducing me. This is the stage where it's fun. The stage where I'm collecting photos and pasting them into my Notes document (I use Word's notebook layout feature for this, creating tabs for the characters, story, and settings) and thinking up all the lovely possibilities.

This story is a bit different than what I've written before, but it still features the exotic location, the gorgeous alpha male, and the determined heroine. The possibilities are endless! Of course I'll eventually reach the stage where the book becomes work and the next new idea pops into my head. But until then, I'm going to have fun.

I believe this stage is essential, the fun stage, where you think and plan and maybe write a chapter or two. I've proven I can write a category novel in 3 weeks (not easy, but I did it), but there's no need to write every book so quickly. There are always deadlines, of course, but the dream time is very necessary to creating. One writer I know takes a month off between novels. For her, it's essential to her process and to writing the best book she possibly can. I don't need quite so much time, but I've found that a week or two is a nice break. I read, go shopping, cook gourmet meals, and generally let myself enjoy every day without the pressure to get as many words on the page as possible.

Remember while on this crazy writing journey that you still need to have a life. People change, kids grow up, friends move away. So don't spend every hour of every day hunched in front of your computer because one day you'll look up and wonder where everyone went. Let the blush of that new idea have its time swirling in your head. Approach it slowly but steadily, like it's a forest creature you don't want to frighten. Soon, it'll be eating out of your hand. (One day it'll bite you and you'll want to let it go and find a new idea, but that's another story….) 😉

Now I'm off to play with my shiny new idea…..