If you constantly work at only one thing, there is a risk that you will become bored with it, which could lead to a bad final product because your enthusiasm will be, well, almost nonexistent. This has been my experience, at any rate, which is why I always try to add some variety to what I’m doing – whether it’s housework, office work, or writing.
So, while my novel is an ever-present medium-term goal, I don’t spend all my writing time on it. I need to switch gears and do other things to maintain my interest. This is why I also write short stories (often in different genres, too), roleplaying game adventures, and more recently modules for a video game. This last bit represents a real departure from what I normally do, and that’s a good thing.
The video game module, which is basically a storyline that players can select and play through like a mission, has a plot much like a standard story, but the nature of the platform requires a much different structure. In addition to descriptions of events, I have to allow for player choice, as this is an interactive story. So, at every decision point I need to work out the options, and what happens if the player chooses action “X” or “Y”. Also, because this is a game in which the player has attributes and skills (much like a classic roleplaying game), I have to work out the consequences of success and failure. As a result, instead of the (more or less) straight line of a linear plot, we instead have a gnarled tree, with a single starting point (the trunk) leading to numerous possible outcomes.
Is it challenging? Yes. But it’s also fun, and it keeps me interested.