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What to Consider When ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ Threatens Your Work-in-Progress

Having a surge of creativity can be a great feeling. Everywhere you look, you seem to find new ideas. But while this can be exciting, it can also make it draining to progress in your current work. Your half-written drafts will be dropped. You may feel tempted to delete your unfinished book and run off with another idea because it sounds better. 

Writing is a game of commitment. You have to focus on a project and finish it before starting another. 

At the same time, new ideas make a creative writer; you don’t want to throw them away. You never know when that new idea could be more worthwhile to pursue than your current work. 

As with anything, it’s all about balance.

If you continually find yourself tempted to drift away from your current work and toward some other project, first, understand that you are not alone. Plenty of writers have struggled with this dilemma. You also need to be honest about what’s important to you in the long run. Is the new idea worth it? Will it be rewarding?

Try keeping a record of your new ideas with the promise that you’ll come back to them when done with your current story. If the temptation to find something new persists, ask yourself why you might feel more motivated by a new project and whether there’s something preventing you from making progress with your current manuscript.

Maybe it’s time for a break from the current story and to stretch your brain with something new. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. Sometimes you’ll feel better and more knowledgeable when you come back to old writing after taking up new ideas.

Different things work for different people, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for yourself. Weigh your choices, decide what aligns with your goals in the long run, and recognize that “shiny object” glinting from beside your current work-in-progress could just be a distraction. But it could also be gold that’s ready to be unearthed.

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