Yeah, I'm probably not using the term 'specific gravity' anywhere close to right, but I'm a writer, not a scientist, Jim*.
This morning as I was surfing through the blogosphere a friend mentioned that she dropped her 30K WIP to start something new and sparkly. She also wondered whether it was the right thing to do and whether this happens to any of the rest of us. In my comment to her, I said something about how you have to go with what's pulling at you the hardest, which of course led me to think about how, in our world, each manuscript seems to have its own gravitational pull. And since you can't defy gravity, you have to go with whichever story is pulling at you the hardest.
Think about it. Here we all are, swirling around in our own little universes - drifting this way and that until some story pulls at us hard enough to make us want to sit down and write it out. If it's an awesome idea, it eclipses every other idea. We have no choice but to stick with that manuscript until we either finish it, in which case it loses it's gravity. Or for some reason the story's pull weakens enough to let something else's gravity pull us away.
Now I could go totally geeky and come up with some kind of formula to show how this manuscript has more gravity than that manuscript. (X cubed time Y squared minus I is greater than Z). But I always sucked at math.
You can fight the pull, of course. It takes a lot of work. It takes more than a fair bit of belief that no matter how much another story is pulling, the one you're currently in orbit around is worth finishing. And then also tenacity and sheer stubbornness help. Basically, in this business, your engines have to be strong enough to hold you in place when you need them to, or to let you break free when the situation calls for it.
Still, sometimes you're stuck screaming "I'm givin' her all she's got, Cap'n!**" and still get sucked into the black hole that is a new, but scary and unknown, idea.
And that's okay, too. Who knows what wonders you might find in there. ;o)
One thing I have learned, though. The longer I do this, the easier it is for me to note the new and sparkly ideas on my star chart and promise myself to explore them later so I can finish what I'm already working on. Even then, though, the stars call to me and sometimes they whisk me away.
How about you?
*Gratuitous Star Trek reference since I'm going all scientific on your asses.
** Yeah, there's another one. If you didn't know I was a geek before, you do now. Geeks of the World UNITE!