At the Writers' Workshop, Scott Lynch came up with a rather fun writing game, where the students imagined themselves as pulp fiction writers from the Golden Age, and they needed to crank out a few sentences of outline for a story. Then one of the teachers would play the part of the editor, saying, "That's great, but I think you need to add a monkey and a waffle shack into it." Or something like that. And then the students would re-write.
The purpose of this exercise was to practice pushing through and doing the work even when the muse isn't whispering to you. (Or, in my case, muttering and swearing.) For me, inspiration is rarely the problem, though I often have those moments where I feel like I'm digging deeply into the word mines and not bringing up enough gold.
That said, I recently received notes on Holver Alley Crew from my agent. And in his opinion, it is definitely not gold. Which is understandable. It could use another push through the sausage grinder, and I'm happy to do it. This means, however, that I'll be shifting my goal for finishing a draft of Maradaine Constabulary for him until at least the end of November. Possibly December. But the real goal is to continue to grow at working better, working faster.