My autumn writing projects include a short story collection and a middle grade novel.
As you can see, I've mainly been working on short projects. But I have written--and will continue to write--longer pieces.
When working on longer pieces, I begin by developing a plot outline. However, this plot is only meant as a guide. I allow inspiration to direct my writing. Of course, it's very difficult to plan for inspiration. So this means I may craft scenes and conduct research that won't be used for the novel.
Scenes may become short stories. Research may become articles. The short stories may be woven into collections. The articles can be published on this blog to help promote the novel. Or I may choose to publish these short pieces in magazines.
Short stories may be submitted to these Canadian magazines...
The New Quarterly
You may be able to use your research to write an article for Writer's Digest
In the past, I've developed presentations from the research I've conducted. For example, my first novel--Maynely A Mystery--required me to conduct research on the history of Mayne Island. To promote sales, I gave author readings. One of the on-island short talks I presented was called Fact or Fiction. I read short passages from my book and asked my audience, "Is this passage based on history or inspired by imagination?" I was very pleased with how interested the participants were and how fun the talk turned out to be.
Never think of writing as being a waste. Every word you write brings you closer to the story you are driven to write.