I just finished reading a post by J.Scott Savage on his blog Finding the Magic. Besides posting a scary and intense scene from one of his unpublished books (only read it if you are not prone to nightmares), he gave some writing advice.
For some time I've been struggling with the novel I'm working on. It's gotten to where there is no joy in the writing. His advice was to not worry so much about finishing things. Sometimes it is important to write that stray scene that doesn't seem to fit anywhere and get it on paper. Creativity gets stifled when we handcuff it to a specific story and never let it stray.
I know where the story needs to go, and I still think it is a good story, but I've been so worried about getting it finished that I've put aside everything else. Meanwhile, all the writing is suffering. The post I read on Scott's blog really helped me put things in perspective. It's important to finish the novel I'm working on, but when it becomes a chore, then the writing suffers and doesn't get anywhere very fast. It's more important to keep the creativity alive. The novel will get done, but not to the exclusion of all the other scenes running around in my head.