Is Your Manuscript On-Hold? Never!


On hold? What do you do about your current WIP when you are swamped with other obligations, speaking engagements, etc? In order to make a living, we often need to accept side projects, speaking engagements, etc. They feed the body, but they don’t fee the soul.

So, what happens to your story while you’re off doing other things?
Cooling off. In some ways, there’s no problem, every project needs a period of cooling off. Try to schedule things so that you’re at a natural breaking point when those times come. Maybe you’ve finished a solid plot and are ready to start writing chapters. Or stop after Act I, or Act 2, or after a complete first draft If you can arrant it that way, then it’s not all bad.

Keep holding on! Don't give up.

Write 750 words. Even with a busy schedule, try to stay committed to writing something every day. I use as a reminder to write every day. Right now–it ain’t happening. But it’s happening more often than it would without the daily reminder.

What do I write?

  • A letter from a main character
  • Scraps of description
  • Scraps of dialogue
  • Letters to myself about the strengths/weaknesses of the plot
  • Musing about possible subplots
  • Anything and everything possible about the story, just to keep in the game

Get Creative. Too tired to even write after that side project? Get creative. Do anything that will help keep the story sharp and developing. Start a Pinterest Board of things your character likes–not what YOU like, but what s/he likes. Search stock photo sites ( or for pictures of each character. Make a playlist from your character’s POV.

Study. Look for a new book about writing and read it. Better, put some of it into practice.

Get critiques. While THEY are reading/commenting, it’s fair for you to take off a bit. So, work on that paying contract, while friends read the fun stuff.

Never Give Up! Whatever you do–do not give up. Just because life is full, it doesn’t mean it will stay this full. And if your story is important enough to you, then you’ll find a way to write it. I don’t know how. I never know how a story gets written. All I know is that I must write; therefore, I will find a way in the midst of the busy days. Life is full. And do you really want it any other way?

On hold? Hold on! This too shall pass.

  • Sandra Stiles
    July 12, 2012

    I really needed to hear this one today. I’ve taken on babysitting 3-4 days a week with my grandchildren to help out my daughter as she goes through a divorce. It has impacted my writing. I spend time trying to fit in writing here and there. According to your post, the bits of writing I’m fitting in here and there are beneficial after all. Thanks so much for this post.

  • Darcy Pattison
    July 12, 2012

    Of course, they are beneficial! Just keep on keeping on!

  • Jean Reidy
    July 12, 2012

    Thanks, Darcy! I needed this today. I’m feeling rather inundated with projects that all sit on the periphery of writing but aren’t actually writing. This shows me that I can actually get some writing done in the midst of it all.

  • Jarm Del Boccio
    July 13, 2012

    Thanks for the encouragement to “keep pressing on” in a new way, Darcy!

  • Nathan
    July 16, 2012

    It’s hard but getting up early enough to focus on writting is the key for me. I am tired but fresh in the morning.