One of the greatest things I ever did for myself in terms of my writing was to build a structure within which I could monitor and make explicit the links between the different stories that I am telling. Being able to see the landscape that you are constructing, makes it easier to forge links.
It was like I turned on my antennae for the possibility of links and echoes between stories that on the surface might be something entirely other. I write a lot, and though some things don’t dig in and under, into the connections, some things are more explicit.
Can I tell stories that aren’t part of this huge mythos? Maybe, but I have kind of edged into Dark Tower territory, like with Stephen King’s shared universe lynchpin. It’s funny, from an early age I had a desire to write about everything, but until I had an epiphany while writing one particular story that pointed to the possible layering of one story within another, certain things had been hard to write, and I saw no way to advance them. They were all part of a larger jigsaw waiting for this one piece.
Would this work for everyone? Making one huge story out of other stories? Surely not. But for me it made sense. For me it provided a vehicle within which I could write and keep writing, with new stories coming about these characters all the time.
I have never been someone to prescribe certain ways of writing as being for everyone, but for every tool we share, someone may find their own route into new creativity territories, so it is a very valuable thing.