Work on the thing you actually want to work on

So I sent in my novel to my agent yesterday, and I thought I’d spend a few weeks working on short stories. The thing about short stories is that they provide a lot of immediate satisfaction. You can write them, revise them, send them out, and see them accepted in a matter of months. Novels, on the other hand, take like four years to go from inception to publication. Also, I dunno, my short story output is very different from my novel output. My novels are realistic contemporary YA; my short stories are usually science fiction and fantasy. I like to keep my hand in the sci-fi game is what I’m saying, I guess.

But the thing is I’ve had this other YA idea percolating in my head for months. And this idea is itself a resurrection of something I’d worked on three years ago. And as I was trying to work out a short story idea yesterday, I was like, “Why am I bothering? Does this matter to me at all?”

Since the answer was “No,” then the next logical question was, “What does matter?”

And the answer was, “That other novel idea!”

So that’s what I spent today working on.

It’s an odd thing. Your heart doesn’t always give you the answers, but even when it does, it’s so easy to be too distracted by other concerns, either logistical or practical or strategic, to listen.