How to Fight the Distraction Unicorn

I dunno about you guys, but I get distracted easily when writing.  It used to be really, really bad.  I’d start a novel, get 10,000 words in, and stop because a shiny new idea took priority.

Way I figured it, I wasn’t making money off this.  No one (except Beta Krissy) was waiting on that old story.  Why not chase after the new idea?  I know which one is more fun to write, after all!

books_tkamps
Courtesy of xkcd.com

This went on for literally years.  It got especially bad in college, when I was focusing on getting a degree and finding a “real job,” and writing was strictly a stress reliever.  I never believed I could make this a career, so why bother finishing something?

I tell you what, though.  You can’t win if you don’t play.

If you never finish a novel, of course nothing will ever be published.

Keep in mind, there were some benefits to starting that way.  My writing style improved drastically, since I did nothing but write.  And because I flitted from idea to idea, I was able to experiment on a broad variety of genres.  Eventually, one of them stuck.

But if you’re planning on making this a career–and I believe that the only thing stopping that dream is your mindset–you need to buckle down and finish a project.  Because in case you didn’t know, you won’t find an agent willing to take on a debut author’s half-finished novel.

Writing-Fiction
Fiction only.  Non-fiction just needs a good topic and expertise to back it up… Lucky dogs.

I know it feels like you’re wasting other potential ideas.  What if you’re writing a book about dragons, and another idea about unicorns steals your focus?  How do you know the unicorn book won’t be a masterpiece?

dragon_vs_unicorn_by_giantly-d87em3b
We know who’s winning this battle.

Maybe it will be.  But finish the stupid dragon book FIRST.  Because at the very least, you’ll be that much better of a writer when you tackle the unicorn story.

So that’s my Monday advice.  Finish that novel.  Start a new Word document of “ideas,” and add the unicorn book to the list.

I promise, it’ll still be waiting when you’re done.

 

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