I caught a whiff of inspiration from fellow OWG member, Michelle Muto, while reading her piece about revisiting older manuscripts. She found pleasure in measuring her progress from one manuscript to another, learning from past mistakes, and applying new ideas to older efforts. At the end of her piece was the question:
"Have you ever ditched one manuscript in favor of another?"
It got me thinking. Just the other day I came up with a rather unique storyline I'd yet to see in a YA Urban Fantasy (not that it doesn't exist, but until I find it, it'll be my own private unicorn). When an idea that cool comes along, I question everything else I'm currently doing and ask, 'Could this be the one?' But that was the same think I said about my last two projects.
So today I'm writing about finishing. Currently, I have one manuscript completed and submitted to ABNA, and another well underway. Each time I started one of those projects I asked that aforementioned question. The temptation is great, especially when the current project isn't moving along at the planned pace. I've found that with my current job and family obligations, writing has moved more towards the back seat. Instead of writing thousands of words a sitting, I feel fortunate to get off a couple of hundred. So when the going to get tough, the temptation to switch to a newer, sexier product is definately there.
A couple of weeks ago, Dresden Files author Jim Butcher popped into Bulletwisdom and among other things, offered the following piece of advice:
"Always start your next project when you've finished your current one."
It's sound logic and one of those mythical pearls of wisdom successful writers try to pass down to us aspiring clowns. Writing isn't easy, and writing well is, no kidding, hard. If a plot isn't developing as well as you'd hoped, and the entire project is coming apart at the seams, then jumping over and starting a new project from scratch would seem like an awesome idea.
However, doing so would miss the point. Writing is a grind, it's supposed to be. Pushing through difficulties and making difficult decisions towards your own sweat and blood is going to be a source of mental anguish and frustration. It's just like exercise: you go through pain and frustration to harden your body and get stronger. Same with writing, perservere through the difficulties and finish what you start. The greatest of athletes are known as great finishers.
Writers are no exception.
So a few days ago, when I was struggling through my current projects latest chapter and experienced an oh-my-freaking-gosh moment of inspiration, I wrote down an intro and a few notes, took about ten minutes to define a basic plot and some characters, then socked it away in my online storage vault--
Until I'm finished with my current project, and ready to start my next.