U Is For Unfinished Manuscripts

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

UNFINISHED MANUSCRIPTS

Perhaps when you started this whole writing thing, you thought you were going to come up with tons of great ideas, write every day, and create millions of glowing, finished, utterly perfect stories ready for the world to consume. Now, there you sit, with mountains of unfinished work around you, a monument to your poor choices. Some fizzled out, some never really got off the ground, some ran straight into a brick wall like a hyperactive, unsupervised child. And like some kind of fool, you keep writing more stuff, because if writers are anything, it’s persistent and crazy.

One of the worst things about writing is all the stuff you don’t finish. It haunts and taunts you, like the ghost of that bad burrito you ate, filling you with pain and shame. It builds up in your metaphorical mind closet like last season’s tacky shoes. The pain of unfinished work includes:

– Stuff you were really excited about at the time, but then it kinda fell flat. Like that toy you wanted so bad when you were a kid, until you got it, and then you realized it was dumb. (I have really bad Cabbage Patch Doll regret. Ugh, it was so ugly.)
– The story you wrote right into a corner and it couldn’t escape, like a defective Roomba.
– The story you didn’t think through enough so it crashed and burned, like that kite you got and the first time you flew it you destroyed it in a tree ten minutes later. And then your brother was like “I told you to stay away from the tree!” And then you cried because he’s stupid and kites are stupid and EVERYTHING IS STUPID.

Unfinished work sucks. Sure, it’s part of the learning process, it gives you practice, and it helps you build skills for the stuff that works out and gets finished. Being a writer is full of starts and failures, and that’s part of the game. Like that Hungry, Hungry Hippos game that seems so fun and exciting on TV, but it’s really kind of stupid and the marbles all get lost and the hippos’ heads break off and everyone starts fighting and why did I want this for Christmas??? That’s exactly what writing is like—lost marbles, lost heads, and screaming.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

35 comments

  1. I’ve been thinking about my unfinished novels recently – I’ve always planned on finishing them but hit walls for different reasons (moving country was a big one lol). This challenge has been exactly what I needed though, and now I’m back into a proper writing routine and feeling ready to tackle “the unfinished” (sounds like a sci-fi movie). 😀

    But woah woah woah. Hungry Hungry Hippos is a gaming masterpiece! 😛

    Here’s my “U” post 🙂 http://nataliewestgate.com/2017/04/under-secret-diary-of-a-serial-killer

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  2. Honestly, I’m always more sad that I never could get through a game of Monopoly. Working on it. As for unfinished stories, I don’t mourn them as much as I do completed but uncertainly shelved stories. If I find a story that’s been languishing unfinished in my USB, I’ll delete it because it’s just taking up room. I’m pretty cold that way. 🙂

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  3. Okay Megan I have asked my legal department to draw up a fancy worded document to make sure they evict you from my mind and thoughts. Every day you dig right through the very thoughts running through my mind at any one time! 😉 Those unfinished work can become finished if the demand is such that they are desired, at least that is the justification for keeping them. .

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    1. Gosh, let me tell you a story. For about…two straight years? I BEGGED for a Cabbage Patch doll, for Christmas and birthdays. I don’t think my family had the money for one, as we were pretty poor and they were pretty expensive back then. One Christmas I got a cheap doll instead, that I loved to death. I still remember her name was Marie, and what she looked like, down to her clothes and the fact her body was stuffing but she had plastic legs and arms. Then, finally, a few years later for Christmas, I finally got my coveted Cabbage Patch doll. Remember how they were supposed to look like you? Well, my mom had gotten a pale blond one, like me, and she had a pastel purple dress and I remember thinking “wow, this doll is so ugly.” Maybe I just didn’t want one anymore at that point, I don’t know. She had these lace socks that kept falling off and were impossible to put back on . I don’t even know what happened to her. I don’t remember what I named her.

      There’s a lesson here about appreciating the simple things, I think!

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  4. there’s no pain, just the nagging feeling that I haven’t finished something… I actually used to like cabbage patch dolls but now they just seems weird to me

    have a lovely day.

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  5. You’re really funny. Stupid trees and stupid kites, and hungry hippos.

    I hate unfinished manuscripts so much, I hardly have any. A few aborted short stories, that’s all. I did have an unfinished ms which was in a drawer for nearly ten years before I resurrected it. It was published in 2013.

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  6. I guess it’s a good thing I lost all my marbles years ago, then… 😛 (I actually really liked that game, and none of my hippos’ heads broke off…but I really did start losing the marbles out of it after a while…I think the game was a parallel to the inside of my skull, but I could be wrong…)

    I have so many unfinished stories running around I’m surprised I can keep track of them all…At least while I am writing, I seem to just keep gaining momentum, until I finally run out of steam, or get distracted by another idea and take off running with it…

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      1. If I finish any of mine, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. 😛 I’m really awful about not finishing something, because I’ll be in the middle of writing and get an idea for another story, and start writing that, then get an idea for *another* story (which actually happened this time too, but I’m trying to save the third idea for NaNoWriMo this year)….you get the idea. That’s how I have three fan fiction stories started and the one I’m currently working on actually has the most chapters of any of them (working on Chapter 17 now), while the others have like six chapters each. I just need to get back to them to pick up where I left off, but I’m having way too much fun with this one. And then the one I’m putting off is also fan fiction, so I wouldn’t actually be able to publish it even if I wanted to, but unless a major brainstorm hits between now and then, I won’t have another story I can work on. I have two original stories, but I’ve already started both of them, so they wouldn’t count, and I don’t have a single idea for another original story that I haven’t already started writing, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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