A friend put a question out on her blog about with whom and at what stage other writers share their work.
As I was typing up my response, I (re)realized something: I write to please others. If other people like what I've written, then I like what I've written. If they don't, well, I still might like it, but it might have sort of a shadow over it for me.
My most inspired writing times have been when I was deep in a project and had my husband read every scene as soon as it was written and polished. He was excited about my story. He really liked spending time with the characters, especially Seth and Rosetta. So, as I was writing each day, I always knew he'd be reading and offering his opinion within hours. I had instant gratification, and I also had a high motivation to do a good job because I didn't want to let my first reader down.
For my last three manuscripts, I've been going it alone. And I haven't finished them. Is this a coincidence? I'm thinking... probably not.
It sounds like what I need to do to finish a book is write one that my husband wants to read. Maybe when he gets home, I'll ask him what that might be...
(I'm mostly kidding about that last part. BUT NOT ENTIRELY.)
Edit: He says he wants to read a story about "a pregnant girl who makes a list." It just so happens, I'm working on one of those, but I'm not as enthusiastic about it as he is...