Ever wanted a mini escape from your lengthy writing project? I have on plenty of occasions usually when my characters are bickering, the plot has fallen flat and the conflict arc is missing a major meltdown. On those occasions I take myself off 'project' for a day or so to work on something fresh and more immediate regards completion e.g. the short story.
The short story has become a mini crutch within my writer's tool kit to provide instant gratification to my imagination. Over the years I have written many but this year I decided that I would only write a short story that would be sent into the big wide world, so every story became a competition entry. Or rather every quality competition became a potential comforter for those additional moments of creativity.
I have a mini system, but you knew that, to note where and when I've seen forth coming competitions; duly noting the details so when my short story 'chicken soup' required moment strikes I'm pre-prepared. It feels great to plot, plan, draft and redraft in a short space of time. I always feel refreshed to return to my longer project knowing I've had a burst of 'something else'. Competition deadlines are announced so far ahead of time I can diarise time to reread and polish the story before submitting, whilst happily returning and plodding with my longer W.I.P. with renewed gusto!
Anyway, it has worked for me. In recent months I have been shortlisted twice in Writing Magazine for their monthly competitions and feel quite chuffed that my 'chicken soup' for the creative soul material has proved productive.