Yes. It is an over-used, under-appreciated cliche. But it is what it is, right? Oh, damn, another fucking cliche.
I think that one thing missing at times from my writing, is my reading. And, at times I think that is a good thing. the books that bring me pleasure tend to not bring me material I can use. Reading deep level, consciousness based philosophy books can only do so much for writing. I am not really talking stuff like your basic Descartes, Plato, Aristotle, yadda yadda yadda; I am talking serious doctoral level books discussing the science of consciousness. Ther eis some value in writing, but not much.
The best books I have read that helped me become a better writer were ones that told real stories. Stories like "All that Is" by James Salter and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I will say that while it was a very well written book with what I consider brilliant level prose, the storyline was not one I particularly enjoyed. That did not, however, take away from its magnificence.
Then of course there is Steinbeck. I think I was more influenced by his works than any other author. His ability to speak in colloquial terms rather than falling prey to the concept of conversations having correct grammar; that is not how people speak - especially poor people who migrated from the plains to California.
So today is one day. I have not decided if I am going to continue on my both works at once quest. Because of the vast difference in their subject matter and tone, it is both easy and difficult to conceive of writing both at the same time.
It is easy, on the one hand, because to do so leaves little chance of crossing over and combining the two stories (though wouldn't that be fun!). On the other hand it is difficult because it forces the brain from one creative process to another and I worry about losing momentum. If I am going along really well on one, do I pressure myself to stop and work on the other? I think what I have to do is just take it like I always have, one foot (or finger) in front of the other.
My process is simple; I have a semi-defined time that I sit and write on my novels. When I sit, I start plugging away, but I cannot sit still for three solid hours. So usually I will put together a scvene or two; anywhere from 300-1500 words, and then I will take a break. As I take that break, I abosrb what I have written and just kind of sit in a daze until I get struck with another concept.
With two WIP's at the same time, I guess when I sit down, whatever topic pops into my mind, that is the direction I will head. I am sure of one thing, though, as one gets deeper into the plot, I am more likely to stick to that one until the end; I like the flow that way.
But, like always, one day at a time. Writing is a process that can be just as grueling as it is rewarding.