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Road to the End by John McKeown

You can never say I have failed for lack of ideas.

My a life as a writer has been defined by a constant flow of ideas. I’d read a book, or watch a new movie, or just talk to someone and get a spark for something new. I am a font of fresh starts.

Unfortunately, fresh starts have been the extent of my success. I’ve taken to each new idea with enthusiasm, for a few pages. Beginnings are fun. Beginnings bear promises of new worlds to explore, new plots to uncover. It’s that big chunk in the middle of books that has always been a drag to me. As a result, I’ve never seen the end of the manuscript.

Despite this, it is not my intent to tell you to drop everything and cultivate new ideas, especially when you’re hundreds of pages deep into your latest project. However, I’m also not here to tell you to catalogue and ignore these ideas for years. That works for some people, but it just leaves me with a nagging itch to be scratched.

My suggestion is to find ways to commit a bit of writing adultery. Don’t go wholehearted into a new manuscript. Maybe try it out in a smaller format. I’m writing one of my own errant ideas in short form. It helps me figure out details about the greater world and I don’t feel entirely guilty as I still work on my current project. It’s a win-win because I hone my craft in another avenue, get something publishable to hold me over, and not let my ideas languish.

All I’m saying is to take note of every fork in the road and be willing to come back when you have time. You may never get another chance to deviate.

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