Ever since cooking stoves had burners, they typically came with a small one at the back. The chef could place a pot on the smallest burner and keep food warm using the least amount of fuel or energy until needed. Putting something on the back burner has become code for procrastination.
Before I confess my procrastinations (or possibly yours), let's insert a disclaimer here. There are different degrees of procrastination from setting things aside due to an emergency that has cropped up, to inventing things to fill time before the dreaded task can be touched. We could also talk about priorities, but you get the idea. Life happens, and we need to decide how much to push ourselves forward.
Writers are magnets for back-burner projects. Maybe there are too many creative ideas demanding theirr attention (too many fingers in the pie), their interest level wanes, or there's a new baby in the house. Hopefully, there is always a good project on the front burner that we make time for.
I've put aside a finished manuscript in favor of finishing another to submit first, because the topic has been hot. Have you noticed the increase of missionary-related books in the LDS market since the historic announcement of a lowered missionary age in October 2012? I'm trying to get in on that before the phase shifts again. I had started my inspirational narrative non-fiction, Missionary Stories, but planned to publish Bishop Stories first, as it was ready. This series of inspirational stories doesn't need to be in a particular order, so this was a marketing decision.
The trouble I'm having now is fitting in time to finish up the missionary book when I'm also working on the sequel to Secrets of the King's Daughter, which will be released January 2016. The publisher wants sequels to release within a year of the previous one. I've been spending one day a week on the non-fiction book and I'm pleased to say that I'm to the point of final proof reading for Missionary Stories. I dare say that it will be done within a month. It surely will be nice to quit switching burners once that is done, though it's a better problem to have than writer's block.
What reasons do you have for putting a writing project on the back burner?