I’m a sci-fi/fantasy writer almost to the point that I’d say it’s in my blood. (I know it’s not, but it feels that way) Writing stories of the fantastic is so innate to me, nothing excites me just like it. But even I can get tired of writing fantasy. So, a few months ago, I came up with an idea for my next trilogy: it’s going to be a mix of military and dystopian sci-fi with Terminator vibes and wolf references. I spent one morning and dumped all of my ideas into one document.
However, inspiration strikes at the oddest times. I was over at my grandparents’ house, helping them move, and I was hit with fantasy story idea for yet another trilogy. By the time I realized I would need to complete two trilogies to even get to my idea, I had most of the main story and characters visualized and jotted down. I loved the idea and I wanted to start immediately.
The trouble is…I can’t even consider writing this idea of mine until late 2024 at best. Two years. And I wanted to start as soon as I came home. I was in a feverish haze of concocting ideas and I was chomping at the bit to get them organized into a written story.
But I was literally right in the middle of a trilogy, the second book of which wasn’t published yet! (but I did finish the first draft two weeks ago) It wasn’t like this when I thought of the idea for my science fiction trilogy: I came to terms with writing that after I was done with my current trilogy. I felt that all the excitement to write this new series of novels would eventually fade to black after over seven hundred days of writing other stuff.
Usually, I would advise going where (and when) the creative urges lead you, since the more motivated you are to write, the more content you output. The more content you have, the more refining you can do, which leads to a better finished product. being crazy about a book series you’re writing is not bad.
However, what if you’ve already got a project? Especially when I feel that I’m almost finished (the third book is well underway), abandoning it now would lead to eventual rusting and possibly forgetting about the project altogether. I’m not disgusted with this series, although I’ve been working on this fantasy project pretty much every day for the past few years. Fatigue takes its toll, and I just feel the need to start over with something else.
As a result, I found myself continually distracted from writing Praetors of Lost Magic when I desperately wanted to work on my newest project idea. If you can’t tell, I am very susceptible to hype. If it’s fresh in my mind, I insist on doing it immediately. One of my mortal fears is that I’ll wake up one morning and feel absolutely no desire to write.
Delaying things that I want to do is a bottom-of-the-barrel tactic for me. I don’t do unless I absolutely need to. And I do a pretty good job of convincing myself out of certain priorities when I really, really want to. So abstaining from cracking open a new document and starting to spill the story from my mind onto the page was almost irresistible. The best I got was a lengthy outline containing my best ideas on the series as they popped into my head. I felt better after I had everything in a document, but I still wanted to drop what I was doing so that I could go write it.
So what do you do if you have a similar problem? Well, rationalize your situation: look, why choose to start over when you’ve got a good series of novels going as it is? Lock up your best ideas somewhere where you won’t forget them, but don’t actually write the story–yet. Have some patience. Just imagine how great the first day will be when you get to writing it, but realize you have a solid foundation now that you wouldn’t want to trade for potential.
If you’re like me, and you were feeling bored with your current project, use the motivation to get to your next project as fuel for your creative mind: map out new places for your characters to go and things for them to do, all in hopes that when it’s done you’ll get to write about something else.
Of course, if you’re chomping at the bit too hard, you could always take a break after your next novel. But don’t leave it dormant for too long: a series is like a plant. Leave it without sun and water for too long, then it will simply die. Don’t abandon it completely, but purpose to come back to it in time.
Of course, all of this advice is kinda obsolete if you write exclusively standalone novels. I like to do everything in triplets and series: I don’t write many standalone novels, and when I do, they’re usually too oversized with a pretty nasty cliffhanger at the end. If I do get around to writing a few of those, however, I guess I’ll find it easier to go after new ideas. But abandoning writing in the middle of a trilogy is a hard no for me, even if I desperately want to.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!