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7 Ways to Leave Your Manuscript

Posted on Fri, Mar 8 2013 8:00 am by Emma Reynolds

Flickr CC: couragextoxlive

Ever feel bad about the writing(s) you abandon? Next time, be prepared. Shed the emotional baggage that comes from orphaning a manuscript by utilizing one of these seven possible distractions, excuses, and cruel twists of fate. They’ll stall your writing and win you mega-sympathy points so you don’t have to feel guilty again.

1.  Spill your preferred hot beverage all over your keyboard. While some might call this approach pedestrian, many find it satisfactory. If you’re feeling intrepid, try taking it up a notch with chicken noodle soup. Harness your inner two-year-old, or even employ an actual two-year-old, and really cram those de-and-re-hydrated carrots between the keys. But if that still isn’t enough—if that blinking cursor on your screen still triggers a guilt trip over Poor Manuscript—consider going pro: buy yourself an extra-large, sticky ice cream cone. Then leave it on top of your warm monitor and forget about it for the rest of the day.*

2. Petition to bring the Super Bowl to Minneapolis so it can cause a massive electrical surge, overload the power grid, and cast the Twin Cities into total darkness. Then toss Poor Manuscript under the proverbial bus while pretending to freak out about stupid sporting events and not backing up your hard-drive.

3. Have a baby. Admittedly, it’s not the perfect reason for bringing new life to the world and chaos to your existence, but nobody will question your decision to put this little bundle of joy ahead of Poor Manuscript. They’ll even praise you for it.

4. Get a puppy. See #3, but be aware that some people will think you’re crazy for allowing a pet to dominate every facet of your life. But understand that they are also wrong.

5. Start a zombie apocalypse at all the major publishing houses. After all, everyone only thought it was impossible to get published before. Now that Poor Manuscript really doesn’t stand a chance, no one will blame you for putting it out of its misery.

6. Impress your friends with your writing dedication by announcing that you’ve decided to get away and focus exclusively on your craft—on a cruise ship. Definitely make sure there’s an immediate fire in the engine room, a shortage of food, and leaking raw sewage. Everyone will understand you abandoned Poor Manuscript out of post-traumatic stress.

7. Develop sudden and total amnesia so you don’t remember you ever even had Poor Manuscript. After all, amnesia is the ultimate fix for impossible situations. Just ask a writer.

*Based on actual events, at a place called “college.”


Emma Reynolds is currently a marketing intern at The Loft Literary Center. She has several unfinished manuscripts. She doesn't feel too guilty about it.