I recently spent a glorious week on vacation with my family. No computer, no telephone (something I regularly ignore anyway, like it was the plague) and no demands. I read three books, and I purposely brought a netbook (not my usual computer) and flashdrive, with only one WIP on it. I worked on a new Sapphire Club book, rather than three or four books as usual.
I allowed myself to be entertained, to enjoy a glass of wine at night as well as the great company of my husband & daughter and blessed relaxation. It was absolute bliss.
There was a lesson in this vacation. With time to think, my characters really spoke to me. I couldn't drift to other characters, because none of them went along for the ride. The usual clamor in my brain tends to come in waves, with snippets of stories injecting themselves into my sleep, meals and even shopping trips. Not so on my trip.
Characters aren't respecters of one's peace. They have their needs and wants and some shout louder than others, those being the ones I reward with stories.
I came home with a different outlook on how to handle the inevitable return to the demands of a writer's life. Yes, I am organized, save for my workspace. Tons of index cards and legal pads clutter the area around where I work, but where it counts, in my head, I'm now settled.
I've finished two projects, and subbed them. One is contracted, the other I'm waiting to hear. A third I'm working on as I can, it being a complete disaster when I started, but getting better every day. I've chucked 4000 words and I don't even miss them. Odd, that!
Research for several projects has taken a great deal of time, but then, I love that part of writing. I've fought the temptation to start new projects, save one. That one is time sensitive and frankly, since it's so far removed from anything I've ever written, it's great fun.
There are other projects waiting for the finishing touches, but after my vacation, I feel better equipped to sort through those in order of importance. It's amazing how a few days of internet deprivation can cut to the crux of one's problems. Will I opt out of the internet for days on end now that I've returned home? No, of course not. I just plan to not spend so much time on Facebook and more time in the peace and quiet, sorting through the myriad characters calling for their own stories.
I highly recommend vacation, but in lieu of that, I suggest organization, concentration and perseverance. The stories will still come and call to you, but you'll be better equipped to answer them. Not all at once, though. They do tend to get jealous.