Quite honestly, this summer I came to the conclusion I almost HAVE to overthink things. I've been writing offline stories and vignettes and scenes the past few months, kind of like kick-starting a bike, and the ability is still there. I wouldn't have brought this up in the forums if I didn't think I could handle it -- I took a break specifically because I knew I couldn't give stories the focus they deserve.
It took me seven years to write NMAI because I did it by myself. With "Diggory" I put out way more volume in the same amount of time because it was online with an audience. Knowing people are reading makes me work a lot harder, because then the story isn't just in my head, it's being delivered to a reader. I have tons of stories in my head, but an audience makes me prioritize and bring one into focus.
And when I say "a ton of stories in my head" I mean complete, finished stories. That's how I write books, essays, sermons for church etc. My brain is always on overdrive. I have multiple trains of thought on different layers, and have to practice prioritizing what's most relevant for a conversation or a day's schedule, so I don't get lost in my head.
People liked NMAI and maybe they want to read "Trepidation." People liked Diggory and maybe they want it to come back. "Samaritan" has a good concept that I've been working on since I was eleven, but for some reason the format doesn't flow the way I want it to. I think "Worm" showed me some ways to get it to work better - my style online used to be quick short chapters almost daily, and Worm did long chapters that settled you in to a scene. I think that works better for the multiple character approach of Samaritan, the short scenes were too quick to get a sense of who people were.
I think that I need to involve the audience because they're literally who I'm writing for. Otherwise the stories just live in my heads, rolling around waiting to be heard. I want them to vote so I can prioritize which one to bring to the surface until I'm on all cylinders and can potentially handle multiple projects. It's just how I function best.
I'm glad I took the last few months to work on other stuff to prove I could do it -- but those stories don't have an audience that might miss them. The other ones do and I hate that I left them unfinished.