I had a conversation on Twitter last night with a writing buddy of mine. She tweets as @BeautifulSadist and she said she’s having trouble with her novel and wants to write something else.
My advice to her was this: don’t give up! I expressed such a sentiment in two tweets (I feel pretentious embedding my own tweets, but here goes):
I can’t tell you how many partially completed novels are littering my hard drive. It’s embarrassing. (Exact number: five, if you don’t include the one I’m working on now.) What happens is this: I’ll get a really good idea, write maybe 30,000 words of it, then lose motivation and abandon it. And this happens time and time again. It’s a problem I’ve had for years and it drives me crazy.
I tried in vain to find a solution. Outlining didn’t work. Yes, I know some people swear by outlines, but every time I have tried to write fiction based off an outline, the writing turns out very dead-sounding. Writing off an outline completely destroys my style.
Finally, I just decided to finish the novel I’m working on before going on to the next. Informally, I call it my mission to “finish stuff.” I’m currently working on a rewrite and edit of last year’s NaNoWriMo novel. I’m not sure what’s next on the list to finish (either the epistolary novel I’ve been thinking of for years or the science fiction idea I’ve written a few chapters for). But I do know this: no matter how much some other ideas are calling to me, I’m not going to even think about working on them until I finish my current project. (My current project doesn’t have a title yet, by the way, which is why I only refer to it as the “current project” right now!)
Bottom line: even if you hate your idea, don’t give up. I sort of hate the current project right now. I also hated it when I wrote the first draft of it last year. Then I went back after about seven months and saw that some of what I’d written wasn’t half bad.