The Lure of a New Project

If you visit a lot of writers’ websites, you’ll soon find a large majority of them openly admit to starting more stories than they finish. There are several reasons for this, but I’m going to talk about only one of those reasons today – the lure of a new project.

Yesterday, after a strong fight against it, I allowed the lure of a new project to take hold of me. I must say that the feeling is quite overwhelming and I can attest that the excitement of working on something new and fresh is what forces writers to stray from their current project. The writer has not stopped loving the old project; they just need a complete change of scenery. We do this all the time in everyday life. We change jobs when we start feeling bored and depressed with the old one. We seem to change partners at the drop of a hat these days. So why can’t a writer change projects too?

We spend many long months, even years, planning and writing a project (this is especially true when writing a series). Is it any wonder that we grow a little tired of the … well, same old, same old? To me, it’s not surprising at all. New ideas are always surfacing. We might write the idea down, but we will usually return to the job at hand. However, as the months tick by, the lure is more tempting and then…before we realise what’s happening, we have strayed.

Be warned, if you allow the lure to take you too often, then you will be one of the writers who openly admit to starting more stories than they finish. Do you want to fall into that category? I believe none of us do.

A serious writer will discipline themselves against the lure. They will set up guards to force the enemy back. They will build traps to stop the evilness from approaching their sanctuary. They will do whatever it takes to see their current project completed and submitted. That’s how a writer becomes an author. They submit completed manuscripts for publication, which is something you cannot do if you never finish a manuscript.

So, take this as a warning. The lure of a new project feels great. It’s exciting. It’s even inspiring and motivational. But if you give in to this weakness too often, you’ll never finish a project…and you’ll never become a published author.

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4 thoughts on “The Lure of a New Project

  1. I’m having this very problem. Ever since finishing my book I’ve sort of lost focus. I have at least 15 different things of varying lengths that are unfinished and all of them are screaming at me to get done. I’ve hit a sort of writing snag I guess. Not writer’s block, just my inability to force myself to sit down and just do it.

  2. Great post, Karen! I agree, that dropping every story isn’t going to work. On the other hand, I have the next three book plans going, and I think the trick that works for me is to get enough of the ideas down that I can let them sit in my journal and steep. I have outlines, one or two chapters, a few scenes. Another trick I use is to focus my initial excitement into one of the most difficult pieces of the writing process: the query letter. Write your query letter first, while you still have the energy–and I always get some motivation out of the fact that the query letter’s done, or near done, and sending out manuscripts is just a matter of sending pages to the printer.

  3. Pingback: Deborah Woehr » How Perfectionism Can Kill Your Writing

  4. SMD, my advice is to pick the project that is foremost in your mind, sit down and just start typing. Don’t think about it. Just do it!

    Chris, I often write the ideas down and sometimes will even do a bit more than that, but I try not to get too involved in all that otherwise it quickly takes over. All writers are different and we need to find our own discipline. Sometimes it takes a while though. I love the idea of writing the query letter first and have been letting the wording form in my mind. Thanks for the tip.

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