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What to do with your unfinished manuscript in 2013

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
2 min read

It’s a new year and everyone is making resolutions and predictions. When it comes to writing, there are three main options, especially if you’re halfway through a major project and wondering what will happen to it in the coming months.

Here are those options as I see them. How you choose is up to you, but don’t dilly dally. Indecision is a major cause of writer’s block and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to end this coming year having moved both onwards and upwards.

Finish it

Okay, so that’s a pretty obvious place to start, but there really is no better feeling than getting to the end of a long and arduous writing project. When I finished A is for Angelica (for the first time), it was like nothing I’d experienced before.

Getting to the end and completing a manuscript is a huge achievement. If you’ve not done it before, make sure you do it this year. Whether it becomes a bestseller or sits in a drawer for the rest of its life, it doesn’t matter. You’ll have finished. You won’t regret it.

Change it

Why is your manuscript unfinished? What was it about 2012 that meant you couldn’t get to the end before 2013 came along? If your answer is that you only started in December, well that’s fair enough. If it’s because you were never quite sure about what you were doing, don’t be afraid to make changes.

Sometimes we set out on a writing expedition with grand plans and high hopes. But it doesn’t always pan out how we’d hoped. The trick is to not panic, assess the situation, and be prepared to make new plans. Different plans. Whatever it takes to get back on track and get finished.

Bin it

I know, it hurts doesn’t it? The concept of binning a manuscript when you’ve already invested a significant amount of time and effort is heartbreaking. You feel that surely, there must be another way. Can’t you just go back to that ‘change it’ idea and try something different?

Well, you can, but there are no guarantees. Sometimes a piece of writing, no matter how long it might be, just isn’t working. There’s not a lot that you can do but put your manuscript to one side and try something different. There is no shame in that. All writers abandon projects. Just make sure that you start something else.

What about me?

I plan to have a completed first draft of my second novel by the end of 2013. There, I’ve said it. It won’t be easy with a new job and two babies in the house, but I know that it needs to happen. I also plan to make more time for reading. It’s an important part of being a writer and always the first thing I let go when life gets busy. Not this year.

What about you?

What are your plans for 2013? Do you have an unfinished manuscript and if so, what the heck are you going to do with it? Let me know in the comments.

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Iain Broome Twitter

I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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