It's interesting how many writers I know who love to start new stories - and I'm among them. You may have read my blog post a little while back about my trip to the Boston Book Festival where I submitted the first page of a story to the Writer Idol panel. The panels are famous, filled with agents and editors who raise their hands when they would stop reading a submission and then ruthlessly tear it apart. It's supposed to help you hone your submission so you, too, can make it out of the slush pile. Of course, you have to actually have a full-length manuscript to even get in the slush pile.
That's where so many of us go astray. You have an idea, maybe you even outline it, then you sit down to write. You meet new people, visit new places, discover new worlds. But after a few chapters you're distracted by the next world that popped into your head at 2 a.m. And maybe you'll just write a little about that so you don't forget. You'll go back to your first story. Honest.
Sound familiar? If so, you have writers ADD and there's only one solution. Suck it up and keep writing that story! Here are a few tips to help you push through those moments and stay in love with your current project:
1. Never stop writing at the end of a chapter. I always write at least a sentence or two of the next scene so that when I sit down the next time I know where I was headed and the action is ready for me to pick up.
2. If you're feeling tired of your story, the reader would be as well. Look at the characters - are they lively enough? do they have a strong enough motivation? Maybe you need to introduce a new conflict. You can't walk away from drama!
3. Write a side thread. Take a character from your current project and put him in a completely different place, or time, or emotional state. Maybe you'll spend time writing something that just sits in your file, or maybe you'll come up with a new twist for your story.
4. If you're obsessed with a new story, write down the major elements. Then you'll have it to turn to as soon as you finish your current piece. Just don't forget where you put it!
Finally, if you're really having a hard time staying interested in your story you might want to consider what made you want to write it in the first place. If you can't remember, or if you're not so excited by it that you can't wait to return to it, then maybe it's time for something new after all.
No matter if you're just starting something new or knee-deep in plot, my best advice to you all: WRITE!