Here's what I'm talking about. I'm working on a script. A good one, at least in my opinion and that of most people familiar with it. Definitely the best one I've written so far.* My ticket to fame and fortune? Who knows. I'm as optimistic as everyone else in this town who's never sold anything. Anyway, I'm two thirds of the way through the first draft. There's still a ways to go, but the end is well within sight if I can keep at it for just a bit longer... a few weeks, probably, definitely less than a month.
And two days ago I had an idea for another script. Then yesterday, during a fire safety meeting, I fleshed it out a bit -- not all the way, but enough to make it feel like it could be an actual film.
You know how they always tell you to write the movie you want to see?
This is not just a movie I'd want to see. This is a movie I'd be desperate to see. I'd crash the ArcLight website trying to get advance tickets the second they were released. I'd scour the internet obsessively for early production details, right down to researching the filmography of the actor playing Unnamed Party Guest #6.
Of course, I can't work on that script yet. I'm just not allowed to. Okay, that's not true. It would be a mistake. In one hand, I have 60 pages of an actual script; in the other, a couple hours' worth of brainstorming on an idea for a script. It makes no sense to quit the first to begin the second. It makes complete sense to finish the good script I've already got and then move on.
But the screenwriting brain wants what the screenwriting brain wants. It's going to be extremely difficult to write the remaining 30-ish pages without getting distracted by the other film, which, quite frankly, excites me a lot more. I have to do that, though; and what's more, I absolutely can not rush through the rest of the script in an effort to get working on the new one more quickly. The script that's two-thirds done needs and deserves 100% of my creative energy to ensure that the remaining third is every bit as kick-ass as it should be.
What I'm going through is more or less exactly what I went through on my last script -- except, last time I wasn't in the middle of nearly as good a script as I am now. So I have even more reason to fight the temptation. Doesn't mean it'll be easier, though.
Anyway, I look forward to writing another identical post six months from now about how the awesome, exciting, incredible script I have in mind has become tiresome and an even awesomer idea has taken form and blah blah blah. Should be a hoot.