When that inspiration bug bites, it bites us hard. Usually, anyway. Either way, it usually hits at the most inopportune times. Mine? Mine bites me when I’m smack dab in the middle of a half-way finished manuscript. And we all love the shiny things. Shiny, new things.
Ahem. Anywho, it’s no surprise that people love starting new projects. It’s just like getting married and going through the “honeymoon,” stage. Everything is perfect. You married the perfect person. You’re going to have the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect jobs, and everything is going to be shiny and new forever. Then, about four months down the road, you’d be happy just to have a decent garbage can, and for your “perfect spouse,” to take out the garbage. But, I digress.
Eventually, the shine will wear down, and you will itch for something new. Then, it comes to you. Your DREAM idea. Your DREAM book. Now, how do you decide? The new or the old? Well, take a gander at my list and see what you can do. ONWARD WE GO!
- CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF READING THE BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY WRITING?
One key factor, for me, in determining whether I should quit a current manuscript or not is: if I weren’t the author, would I want to read this book? Really take yourself back and think about it. It’s hard to tell with a first draft, as things may change, but if it is a resounding “no,” then you may want to reconsider your current manuscript. Best to head for warmer waters, I believe. Go ahead and put that manuscript away until you’re ready to make it a manuscript YOU would want to read, and tackle that new idea.
- HOW MUCH LONGER IS IT UNTIL YOUR CURRENT MANUSCRIPT IS DONE?
If you dedicate yourself, could you finish your current MS in a month? Less? You might as well see it through. Go ahead and finish it before you start on another idea. Take notes and get to finishing that MS. Use your excitement over the new idea to push you into finishing. You’ll be happier if you finish, anyway. You’ll get the joy of having a completed MS and the joy of starting a new one. It’s a win-win.
- WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO FINISH THE SECOND MS IF YOU DIDN’T FINISH THE FIRST?
Like I said before, new ideas are shiny, and we like shiny things. But eventually that shiny thing is going to dull, just like the one before it. If you don’t finish that first MS, what’s to say you’re going to finish the second? By all means, if you think you can, go ahead and start that second one. Then, when you finish it, maybe you can come back. But if you don’t think you can, might wanna stick around and finish the first. Prove to yourself you can finish. Eventually, you’ll be able to make writing a habit, and it will get easier as time goes on.
- HAVE YOU REACHED THE EDITING STAGE?
If you’ve completed the first draft, and you’re just on the editing stage, go ahead and start on that second idea. BUT. And this is a big but (hehe… big butt), you must exercise discipline. Just because you’ve finished the first draft, doesn’t mean it’s all over for that MS. Don’t allow yourself to abandon the project. Write for an hour on the new idea, then spend some time editing and polishing your old MS. Get that baby publishable so you can do the same to your new baby.
I always push people to finish the first MS before they ever start a new one, but if it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant to be. These questions are just a guideline, a suggestion-guideline, for you to use. Ask yourself these questions, see what you come up with. If you finish your first MS, wonderful. I hope I was of some help to you. If not, also good for you. I’m glad you can start on your new, shiny MS. Now, for questions. What’s your opinion on all of these questions? Do you have any other guidelines you follow to decide? Did these help you anyway? Any questions or points I might have missed? Got any new shinies you’d like to start? Let me know, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
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