Here’s the thing about me: a new project is always–always, always–more exciting than a project I’ve been working on for a while, or worse yet, a project that I’m revising. If you read my blog regularly you’ll know that I’m currently completing revisions for my novel after putting it through beta, and hoping to have it ready for querying in the next few weeks. But revisions suck. They’re boring and tedious and frustrating. A new project, on the other hand, is shiny and new and fun!
I’ve been trying to be good, to put this new project on the back burner until I’m finished with revisions, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and it’s been giving me insomnia. I’ll turn off the light, and ideas immediately flood into my brain, settings and characters and names and plot points crowding together and shouting to be heard. And because it’s so new and exciting, it’s hard not to humor my uncooperative writer’s mind, and before I know it it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I haven’t slept a wink, nor am I any closer to sleep than when I got under the covers.
I sometimes wish that I was better at following projects through to the end. But beginning something is always easier than ending it. When something is fresh, work doesn’t seem so hard, but as soon as project fatigue sets in the urge to begin something new is difficult to ignore. And as a writer, it is so often the case that the most important work happens on the back end of a project: revising, querying, revising again. The ideas are the easy part; the beginning is the fun part. But the ending is where the real work happens, and it is a challenge not to get caught up in the whirlwind of a new project before finishing an old one.
So much as I’d like to go gallivanting off on this new project, I know I have to sit down and finish the old one first. Because as much sleep as I may lose, it’s important to see things through to the end, as frustrating as it may sometimes be. And maybe I need to sit down and find new things to get excited about with my old project. Even though I’ve spent so much time with this WIP, there are still characters to fall in love with, sentences to squee over, and villains to loathe. And maybe the key to reinvigorating an old project is looking at it with new eyes and the same creative impulse that comes with a new project.
Do you get bogged down near the end of a project? Do you jump to new projects before finishing old ones? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!