To explain the title, it’s a reference to this song from the Broadway musical Hamilton. I highly recommend the whole soundtrack if you have a few hours to burn. That line has become a bit of an in-joke in my circle of writers. Lately, one of us or the other will get distracted from our main WIP by something shiny.
It’s easy to do when you’re elbow-deep in the manuscript. Maybe you’ve got a killer idea for a new story. Maybe your current manuscript’s developed an unforeseen tangle that you now have to comb out, and you don’t want to deal with it. Maybe, from out of the blue, you’ve figured out the thing you needed to make that other old story finally work, so you just need to do this one quick fix. Whatever it is, your attention is divided, leaving room for the interloper to try to wreck your commitment.
I’m going through it right now. I’ve been working on my current story off and on for over a year. Sometimes it’s the main project. Sometimes it’s the homewrecking termite trying to steal my attention. Most recently, I’ve been trying to work on it consistently.
But the other day, I had a stroke of inspiration on the story I trashdrafted this past summer. A problem from the backstory that contributed to a nebulous character’s motivations snapped into sharp relief. This fixed everything! Suddenly, their whole arc made sense! Oh, it was tempting. So tempting. But I managed to not stray.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of advice on how to do it. The only thing that made me stay committed was that I have people waiting for the story. If I didn’t, I would have flipped in a heartbeat. Which, I guess, is the best suggestion I can make in this case. When you’re termited hard and you don’t now how to say no to that, having a writing partner or dedicated reader that can do it for you is sometimes your best defense.