Monday, January 7, 2013

Musings on half finished (lost) manuscripts and not freaking out

I'm in the midst of editing--again. I don't think I posted what happen to me in November. Well, December 1st to be exact. 
Beware: This tale is not for a writer's tender heart.
I didn't do NaNoWriMo, I edited my manuscript instead. Hard. NOT ME has been through one critique group and is going through a second. Because the first group was half way through I divided my MS in half. So, for November, I edited two separate documents. (make sense?)
The first half was finished at the beginning of the month and I worked hard on the second, saving as I went (I learned this lesson the hard way). Spent hours in the library, at home and in writers groups. By the end of November I finished! The words, The End never looked so pretty.
I put both documents together, saved the whole thing under a new name and sent it off to an agent. Yup. I had a full request from an agent and my goal was to send it on December 1st (to beat the NaNo rush).
Then I sent the MS to three or four beta readers (mostly because they asked). Yes! What a relief! I thought I would take a small break, catch up on reading and maybe look at the next story I wanted to edit. I have four NaNo projects I want to work on.
A few days later, during my non-writing vacation, my friend wrote back, asking why I only sent HALF the story! WHAT?! 
After opening the attachment I sent to her I found she was right. No big deal, just resend it. I scoured my documents. My stomach dropping a little bit with each one that was only HALF. I know I saved the whole thing. I even backed it up to my thumb drive. It wasn't there either.
Wait! I sent one to the agent. Right. I opened that attachment.
My stomach dropped all the way to my plaid Converse. 
Only half of the manuscript went to the agent. 
Only half.
Only half.
That's what my brain kept repeating. 
What happened? I know I saved the whole thing!
The next day I searched every document, Googled other ideas to search my hard drive, checked other thumb drives. After six hours of searching I came to the sickening conclusion my second half didn't save all the edits from November.
I sent an email to the agent and apologized, claiming I would resend it soon. I had every intention of doing just that. But it was December. Every excuse about family activities and holiday events kept me from editing. Even after Christmas I wasn't enthusiastic about editing. Lots of excuses kept me from my story. Then I realized it wasn't Christmas or family or gaining weight over the holidays (wait. Erase that last part).
That's what I was really doing. Mourning the lose of so much work and time and brain cells and ideas. I tried to be positive, like "I must need to go in a different direction." That didn't work to get me writing either. I wasn't quite to the point of giving up on writing all together, though I admit the thought crossed my mind a few times. Okay. Several times.
No magical potion or pep talk or writing blogs advice helped either. Opening the two documents and figuring out where I needed to start again is what got me started again. 
Plain, old-fashioned determination/perseverance/obstinacy made me do it. 
Don't those words apply to anything in our writing journey? We have to take the next step, force ourselves if we must, on the creative road we started on. Some days (or months) are harder than others BUT we can do it.
And I found that while writing is a solo, and sometimes lonely journey, I had many, many friends sympathize with me. Feel sick with me. Heave big, long sighs for me. 
I was not alone.
When I reopened the documents, I found that I liked my story again. I was excited to work again. Did I need time to mourn? Was I being stubborn and ornery? I'm not sure. But I can't look back and wish I had done differently because there is no going back. Only forward. To the end. The End.
Courtesy of my DD
We have so many to turn to in the writing community. We watch out for each other and lend support and hand out tissues when needed.
No writer is alone.
No writer is alone.
Let's take this journey together. 
Forward! Onward! Tallyho! We can do this!
What say you?
You with me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh what a journey! You get my positive attitude award, for sure. All the best to you as you retackle this project.