I’ve had a great start on an idea for a novel. I’ve got nearly thirty-two thousand words into it.
And then I got another new idea for a more exciting project and that is reffered to as, ‘The Shiny New Idea Syndrom’.
I have five or more unfinished novel starts on my computer. I call them my skeleton stories, and I do ask, occasionally, if they will ever be covered in some flesh and have some guts.
Henry Miller seemed to have the same issues. As he was working to finish his first novel, Tropic of Cancer, he wrote a set of eleven commandments to keep himself from racing off into every new novel idea.
“One: Work on one thing at a time until finished,” Henry Miller directed himself.
“Two: Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
“Ten: Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.”
As you’re writing, I’m sure you’ve discovered more ideas for all the other projects on which you could work. Maybe you’ve considered some short stories you could write, or blog posts you could craft, or even other novels.
Those are probably all great ideas to have on hand. So don’t forget them! Write them down in that notebook and pen you always have on your person.
But, don’t get distracted from your current project: writing this first draft.
There will be time enough when you’re finished with this to play around with your hundreds of other concepts. But, if you make it a habit to quit a project halfway through, you’ll never finish any of the books you want to write.
I’m now set on a daily schedule that helps me write five thousand words a week. Unquestionably, some busy days come along and keep you away from your work, but make up for them within the same week.