Sunday, August 4, 2013

Middle Manuscript Syndrome

Writers often refer to their books as their babies. This may seem ridiculous to those, who do not write, but for those of us who do, we so get it. Like raising a child, a writer spends months dreaming about and laboring over the idea of their story, sleepless nights nurturing it and changing its messes, and years developing it into a manuscript we are proud to send out into world. And as with babies, the pain associated with the labor it took to bring the manuscript into the world is quickly forgotten when we are finally holding our bundle of joy.  

That being said, if books are a writer’s babies, then my YA novel SIGH, has a bad case of MMS (Middle Manuscript Syndrome.) Wedged firmly between my first YA, IN THE CREASE and my third, FINDING OBENO, SIGH is often told “Mommy’s busy” anytime its older and younger siblings need attention.


This photo from the Huffington Post says it all

 I began writing SIGH in 2008 and have yet to finish it. The rough draft is two-thirds complete and patiently waiting for me to return to its story. SIGH's plot charts and chapter breakdown still adorn the wall of my dining room administering a good dose of guilt every time I sit down to spend time with my other writing projects.

According to parenting sites, while older children get the benefits of all of the “firsts” a child accomplishes and younger children benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family, middle children often feel left out and invisible. To counteract the effects of Middle Child Syndrome, they advise setting aside time to spend with your middle child.
So that is what I have set as my new summer writing SMART goal. Having completed my first summer writing SMART goal, finish the current revisions on my baby FINDING OBENO, I am now going to spend some quality writing time with my middle manuscript SIGH. I can’t promise that issues will not arise with my other manuscripts, which may necessitate my attention, but my new goal should alleviate some of the guilt I’ve felt over my poor, neglected middle manuscript.
Now, if only there was an easy way to deal with the guilt over neglecting my actual children and husband while I write.

So, fellow writers, how do you deal with juggling multiple writing projects?


  1. Great job on setting goals! I agree, measurable realistic goals result in real progress; just saying "I want to finish my novel this summer" sets you up for disappointment.

    Also, interesting how women face guilt when pursuing personal goals, that it's always at the expense of family. I am not picking on you, it's a very pervasive and ingrained feeling in most of us. Time spent pursuing my own goals is inevitably at the expense of SOMETHING. Only you can determine the right balance, but I propose to shuck guilt aside. When our spouses pursue goals, we cheer them on. If our spouses are cheering us on, why feel guilt? Easier said than done... I'm working on that myself.

    Anyway, found your blog from #writeoncon on twitter. Good luck with your writing! Keep on toward those goals.

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! I am all about shucking the guilt aside. But as you said, easier said than done.

    It's always tough to find a balance in life, but I've discovered if I don't get my writing time, I get a bit grumpy, and then my kids and husband don't want to be around me. So, it benefits everyone if I schedule in time to write. :)

    Best of luck with your writing! And please stop in again! I love the company. :)