A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.
91. The right time to begin a new project
This really depends on what kind of a writer you are.
For me, growing up and writing stories in my spare time, the “right time” was always whenever I got a new idea that I just had to get down on paper. But that was all just for fun, with not a concern in the world of what might happen to that story in the long run.
Professionally speaking, the “right time” to start a new project is more likely to be when you’ve finished the old one. If you’re writing for a living and you’ve got agents/editors/publishers to deal with, they may not be overly impressed to find out that you’re playing around with a new project while they’re not-so-patiently waiting for you to hand over the old one that they’re paying you to write.
Then, there’s another way to look at this; that is, if we were to think of the “right time” as the literal “right time” for you – personally – to begin working on a new project. This can bring up all sorts of issues for each individual writer. After all, it might not be the “right time” if you just had a baby and have very little free time to yourself. It might not be the “right time” if your day job has become overtime heavy. It might not be the “right time” for any variety of reasons that keeps you from actually sitting down and writing.
So when is the right time? Is it when your kids are old enough to keep to themselves while you work? Is it when most of your debts are paid off so you don’t have to worry so much about finances? Is it when something drastic happens, like losing your job and having no other way to make ends meet? Is it when you literally have nothing else to worry about? Because if it is, I can go ahead and tell you right now that you will never start that project. You may as well just forget about it now, because it’s never going to happen.
Professionalism aside, the “right time” to start a new project is right now. If you haven’t guessed why yet, right now is the best time to do anything, the only time to do something important to you, because the future is unstable, unreliable, and unknowable. You might think that it would be better to wait for any of a million possible issues or distractions to be out of the picture, but the fact of the matter is that you will never have no issues or distractions. There will always be some financial issue, health problem, family mess, or personal obstacle to deal with. These are the kinds of things that we will never be free of, and convincing yourself otherwise guarantees that you will never accomplish anything you hope to accomplish.
There’s no point in waiting until tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Start now, or you might never start, and if you never start, there’s no way you can ever finish.