One of my biggest issues is staying focused on a single novel.

My imagination is always creating new and wonderful ideas. I write a few chapters on this story, a few on that story, but never finish one.

What disciplines / habits can I put into place to stay focused and finish a single novel?


3 Answers 3


1) So, don't. Keep several books going at once. What's stopping you? Maybe you need to switch gears often to keep yourself fresh.

2) Write short stories. Easier to finish in a bite.

3) Write an outline of your novel. When you get bored working on IIA3d, move to IVE12c. Jump around within the book and write scenes.

  • I think this kind of understanding suits me where I am at the moment. That is, with the hordes of "i've got a really good story in here [taps brain]" aspiring authors. Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 7:19
  • 1
    Hasn't this switching also the nice side-effect to get the distance you need for reviewing? (BTW +1)
    – Wolf
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 13:13

I have the same problem. What I did to handle it was to start writing down an outline or synopsis of the new story ideas as they came to me. This allowed me to get them out of my head and store them off somewhere for a while.

I usually have at least two, and usually three, projects going at any given time. Once I finish one, I will go back to my story pile and choose whichever one strikes my fancy the most. I find that by doing this, I am usually concentrating on the two or three most interesting ideas at all times.

Also, I will select one of those ongoing works as the primary, and it is usually a full length book. The one or two side projects are usually novellas or short stories. If I know I'm going to have an extended amount of time, I will work on the longer work. If I am limited for time, then I will focus on one of the shorter works.

  • Thanks for your words Steven. Sounds like you have a clear process, very cool! Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 4:03

The only one I know of is "write fast". But then I'm not known for my ability to do big writing projects either.

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