Keep going or put it on the backburner

You have a project. You’ve been working on it for awhile. You’re getting close to finishing whatever draft you’re on, but you’re also sick of writing it. Meanwhile, you have a shiny new idea lurking in the back of your brain.

So do you drop the old project and start working on the new idea?

There are a lot of factors that can influence this decision. How close are you to being done with the current project? Is it worth it just to push through. Is the new idea keeping you up at night? Does the old project make you want to throw up?

As you may have guessed, there’s no right answer to whether or not you should put a project on hold and pursue a new idea. I like the idea of continuing a project even after it’s lost its original zing. If you keep starting new projects, you’re never going to finish anything.

On the other hand, I understand the need to work on something fresh to get your creative juices flowing again. I’m more pantser than plotter, which leads hitting a lot of I-don’t-know-what-happens-next type roadblocks. Sometimes I need a few days or even a couple weeks to work through those type of plot problems, and while I’m doing that I like to work on something else, just to keep my momentum.

Also, if a new idea burrows its way into my brain and I jut can’t get rid of it, I allow myself some time to satisfy that itch. I started my current WIP at two in the morning because I couldn’t get the narrator’s voice out of my head. It was literally keeping me awake at night. So I got out of bed, jotted down the opening lines. The next day I was able to get back to the book I was prepping to query.

One trick that has really helped me is saying to myself that if I get a certain number of words written in my current project, I can then indulge in the new idea for a little while.

The more you write, the better you get at learning what you need to do to get yourself in gear. You’ll learn to recognize when you need to chase the new idea and when you need to buckle down and just finish what you’re working on.

At any rate, just keep writing. All words are good words.

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