Many writers suffer from this malady and never get beyond it, and I was pretty sure I was terminal. But - I was fortunate enough to attend a writers' conference where two ladies gave a breakout session on writing your first draft in 30 days (not unlike NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.) Well, I had tried NaNo before - more than once even - and had failed - miserably. But, I went to this session, hoping these ladies had a secret, something that would cure my ills. And... they did!
What was it? Well... aside from the hard copy calendar that I posted over my writing space & filled in with my daily word count goal -- (and aside from insisting that instead of chasing Shiny New Idea, I jot it in a notebook, not to be looked at until 1st draft WAS completed) -- they suggested telling people that I was writing a novel. But, not just any people... they said I needed to tell that one person who would look at me when I didn't finish it and say, "Huh. Is anyone surprised you didn't finish? I could've told you you'd never do it."
Yep - tell the one person who would revel in your failure. Aaack!!! (Of course, I'm good at taking direction, so, I did tell that person.)
Uh... 16 days. That's what it took for me to complete the 1st draft of a MG ghost story I'd been thinking about for over ten years. Those 16 days even included a major set-back of losing 8K words during a thunderstorm. But, I persevered - had a 3-day weekend in the mix - and finished! Yay!
That same year, in November, I tried NaNoWriMo -- again. The result of that NaNo ended up being XVI.
So - what might work for you, if you suffer from Unfinished Manuscriptitus, is
- a calendar with space for word count tracking
- setting a daily goal, and then
- telling your worst friend you're writing a book!