I’m a loyalist, but when it comes to fiction I might encourage a novelist to “cheat” on their manuscript with a new piece of writing. Often when I’m talking to a writer about their novel, or when we’re working through a difficult draft, I discover they’ve been writing something else on the side. When you’ve been working on something for a long time it can be freeing and energizing to have something new that has no pressure on it, to have the creative space to just explore and build. Sometimes that side thing actually becomes your primary manuscript, or the foundation for the next book, or it can help illuminate or revitalize the work at hand. It’s a burst of imaginative energy and a diversion, illicit in all the right ways. Falling in love with writing is key, so in this instance, I encourage you to cheat.
—Claudia Ballard of William Morris Endeavor