Writing Books

#1
I know it's a broad subject, sorry.
So here's my problem, I've been writing this book, but I've begun to lose interest in it. Whenever I daydream, it's not about how I can progress my book, but about ideas for other books. I thought that maybe I could pause the book I'm writing currently and start the other one but I'm afraid that if I do that I'll develop the habit of leaving unfinished projects. When I first started writing, I had ideas for other books but I didn't pursue them and decided to focus on one book at a time. I hoped that I could finish a book and move on to another, slowly improving my writing skills.
Do you have a preference for either option and do you know the pros and cons of each one?
P.S. I don't have a concrete schedule for when a new chapter will come out so I'm not worried about pausing a book if that helps.

Re: Writing Books

#2
I also have this problem where I day dream of other story ideas instead of working on the one. What I've learned about writing two books at once is that it can be good, but it also has a downside.


Pros:
  • You clear your mind by writing out clutter
  • You come up with new ideas and possibilities
  • Extra practice writing
Cons:
  • You're attention is split and either one or both of your stories suffer
  • You create inconsistencies and are more prone to writing errors
  • Can't remember what goes with which story
It's good to take a break every now and then, but if you're losing interest in your story then you're probably not enjoying it. (I am currently having this problem). Here's what I did as well. I wrote some short stories and threw them into a collection I then published Tales of Light. They're not high quality, but It's better than writing two separate stories because if I really like an idea then. I can come back and make a story of it or I might incorporate it into a story. I think this way is better because it's more of ideas or elements that can be used however you wanted. They can also be story stories that will some point be part of a plot of a different story.

Re: Writing Books

#3
Ok so.

If you lost the 'mojo' for your primary story, that's fine.

Writers scrap stories all the time and I don't think you should be concerned about leaving unfinished projects. Also keeping a story on hiatus can give you some change of scenery. In my opinion, working on the same story for too long can be a bit draining. It's good to work on some short stories or write on another story if you feel you're losing the spark.

Focusing on one book at a time is a good ideal, but chance are you'll get writer's block, struggle for deadlines, or just get straight bored writing in the same setting. Do some short stories or start another story. When you feel your getting sick of your main story, write on your other one. Then when you finish one book, you can start publishing the other since you already have a proper backlog for it. :)

Again, this is my opinion and it's ultimately YOUR choice. :)

Keep writing!

Re: Writing Books

#4
If you're losing interest in your current work you should pause working on it. If you're not truly engaged, you're not doing yourself or your readers any favors. I had this same issue. I was halfway through writing a book and just reached a roadblock. I'd had this idea in my head so I put the first book aside and started working on a new book. It's been going great. Sometimes you have to take a break. I should note that I don't post my work until it's complete so my decision didn't leave any readers hanging. If you decide to go on hiatus, let your readers know and explain why. I think most will understand. Good luck.

Re: Writing Books

#5
I once read somewhere that in the last but one century some writers used to have a "writer's diary", which was like a diary but instead of what happened to them they wrote scenes in it, Scenes the daydreamed about or that just came into their head. Without wasting any time on how that could be a full story, just some 'random' scenes. Later then if they started a new story or when the story they wrote would miss some themes, they would consult those diaries for some themes they might incorporate into that new story. I think where I read that was also some example about where some central theme of some book was also to be found in their writer's diary some decades earlier. Though the only thing I remember about it was that it was such a different genre and setting that I could hardly tell which part of is they meant with it.

Re: Writing Books

#7
Personally, I've found chasing new ideas to be a very dangerous habit to get into. There will always be a shiny new idea ready to jump in when your current project gets wearisome. Committing to a story and following through on it is an essential skill to cultivate as a writer. Middles and endings need practice too, not only beginnings. Giving up when the going gets hard isn't a good long term plan.

If you're doing it for fun and you don't care whether you ever finish anything, then that's fine. But if you're planning to finish anything, you'll have to put in the work and push on through the hard parts sooner or later.

Putting it off won't make it any easier. I've learned that the hard way. I regret leaving so many stories unfinished and not learning how to stick to a thing earlier in life. I can't overstate how valuable it is to be able to struggle on through the swamp of difficult writing and emerge victorious on the other side.

That said, there are times when dropping a story could be the right decision. And times when starting another at the same time is correct.

Myself, I write best when I have variety. Sticking with the same project for too long makes me dull and uncreative. Scheduling in times to write other projects - like the free-for-all that is nanowrimo - has been a huge help to me as a writer. Switching between projects helps keep both stories fresh and exciting (though rarely at the same time.)

Juggling multiple stories isn't easy. You do need to take extensive notes, track which story is in first person and which in third, who the main character is, which book had that side character or plotline... and then you run into the problem that now you're committed to updating twice as many stories, finishing twice as many things, when a third new shiny idea comes along. Then what? You're already overcommitted. 

For me, scheduling is the key. Find a sweet spot, the number of chapters you can write that's just a bit outside your comfort zone without pushing you into burnout. Do those chapters all need to go toward a single project? Or can you afford to split your focus? Perhaps you can add a chapter to each story every week, or maybe one story gets a single monthly chapter while the other updates every two days. That's not something I can figure out for you, you'd need to decide on your own schedule and  how much you can handle.

Good luck!

Re: Writing Books

#9
I've found what works for me personally is to keep a 'story idea' list nearby.  Because for me, it's never just one.   

It's like... oh, sweet, Reincarnated as an Ogre... in an ogre tribe and the whole rest of the tribe except the shaman is stupid... like "stop eating those rocks!" stupid, and I feel responsible for them because a single ogre can't make it out there alone in the dangerous fantasy world, and the shaman... he wants to kill me because he thinks I'm a threat to his position.

Then, the next idea pops up, and it's like... okay what about a base building story from the pov of a giant crab, and the plot leads to becoming the crab king dungeon boss that pops up as the first or second dungeon boss in like 95% of mmos?  

And then... "wait, can I combine those two somehow?  Have the ogre tribe tame the giant crabs, how cool would that be?"

Well you get my point.  So, I have a list and just slap my brainspawns onto the list so that I can pick out the next story I want to write whenever i get done with my current one.  It's like having a song stuck in your head until you sit down and listen to it.  By writing it down, I can focus on other stuff.

Not promising that'll work for you or anyone else.  Just saying that it works for me. 

Hope this helps!

Re: Writing Books

#10
If you want to keep working on your current project, why don't you turn your new idea into a short story? Something that you can actually finish, and call done, in a reasonable time frame. It might mean stripping it down to its bare essentials and reduce an epic-sized idea into a pamphlet, but 1) it'll be good practice for finishing stuff, 2) you'll learn stuff you can use for your main project, 3) it means you'll be able to finish your next idea, too, when it pops up, instead of turning into the same scenario where you'll move on to the next interesting thing, and 4) you can always return to these stories later on and expand them or combine them when you're done with your current work. 

Re: Writing Books

#12

Amine Wrote: I know it's a broad subject, sorry.
So here's my problem, I've been writing this book, but I've begun to lose interest in it. Whenever I daydream, it's not about how I can progress my book, but about ideas for other books. I thought that maybe I could pause the book I'm writing currently and start the other one but I'm afraid that if I do that I'll develop the habit of leaving unfinished projects. When I first started writing, I had ideas for other books but I didn't pursue them and decided to focus on one book at a time. I hoped that I could finish a book and move on to another, slowly improving my writing skills.
Do you have a preference for either option and do you know the pros and cons of each one?
P.S. I don't have a concrete schedule for when a new chapter will come out so I'm not worried about pausing a book if that helps.


I think you need to push on. First, and foremost, pushing on begins to train the habit and discipline of finishing the things you've started. This is not easy. But it is critical. Readers, let alone yourself as the writer, want stories to come to a conclusion.

Second, pushing through something difficult builds character and makes you problem solve. Is there a way to combine some of the aspects of this new thing you want to write with the project you have? If so, do that.

I find that each project involves practicing a one or more "target skills." Establishing a voice, writing combat clearly, improving dialogue, using imagery to build out an abstract scene, etc. By switching projects when it gets difficult, I would avoid the toil that builds my skills in those domains. So, by a general rule, I do not do it.

Finally, consider the inevitable compromise you make when you spread yourself across multiple projects. The characters in your current story draw distant; the unconscious connections you're making fray. Those people who inhabit that little dream you're weaving will stop talking to you, and eventually drift off into the sea-of-things-that-weren't-quite.

I'd advise you to proceed to the end of this project and grant your subconscious the time to process and gestate the new one, so you're ready to hit the ground running, rather than compromise and straddle two or more projects. Write down the ideas you have now, record and update them, and you'll be much more ready than if you hop tracks suddenly.

Re: Writing Books

#13
Thanks for the tips everyone, I wasn't expecting more people to answer. More of you are saying that pushing through on my original book will help me learn how to write the middle and end of a book, which is a good point. I've also noticed that a lot of you are saying that writing two books at once is a serious struggle, but I should clarify that my plan was to start another book to give my mind a break from the first one. If I'm lucky I'll have come up with new ideas for the first one by the time I get bored with the second, sort of bouncing back and forth. Thanks for all of the help though everyone.

Re: Writing Books

#14
I should preface this by stating that I have over a dozen WIPs, many of which have been put aside so that I can focus on a few books that I'm most interested in working on at the moment. And the books that I have been working on at the moment have themselves been put aside many times so that I can work on others!
DrakanFascinating

I don't think it necessarily creates a habit of unfinished projects if you decide to set aside your current book and try writing for your other stories. In fact, as someone who always gets new ideas, it actually helps to humor my brain a bit, get out as much as I can for the idea that I've gotten, and then go back to my current WIP when I'm done jotting down my notes or writing the scenes that have popped into my mind or whatnot. It's like what they say about getting a song stuck in your head. If you sing the whole thing from start to finish, you can get it out of your head faster! If I don't want to lose focus on the current project, I'll make an audio note for the new story idea so I can get it out of my brain quick and move on.

I also get bored quite quickly, so it helps to have more than one project going on at the same time so that I can jump from one thing to the other. Sure, there are times when you're just bored of everything, but I think that's more burnout than it is not wanting to work on your stories. This method keeps me productive longer, and saves my brain from getting too tired of the same story.

As for giving up on your story to move on to something else, I think putting it aside to come back to it later might be a better option there. I've deleted stories before and regretted it because I wanted to come back to them later on and couldn't. You might end up wanting to return to it later on with a renewed motivation for it! Whatever the case, you should definitely keep your options open.

You've gotten a lot of other advice from many authors, so I hope something will help! Everyone has their own writing process and system, and it's really a trial-and-error thing until you find what works for you. Good luck!