Lessons on Abandoning Your Manuscript, part 1: Failure

For a writer, I’m a pretty left brained person. I memorize train schedules for cities I plan to visit. I find great personal satisfaction in organizing cluttered shelves and drawers. The most used app on my iPhone is a to do list. I work in accounting, which pretty much says it all. In general, when I set out a schedule or plan, unless an act of God or one of those other insurance loopholes gets in the way, I always follow through.

I didn’t see this week being any different, despite the horrible plan a brewin’…

Since I have a baby due in <hmmm> two weeks or so, and my Toodledo List app just keeps growing, I knew I had to stop working on my new novel during my lunch breaks and focus on getting everything else in order. Marketing for The Dragon Keeper, namely, but also various preparations for work and home that will put this little left brain at ease during the looming zombie half-life called New Baby. It’s only logical. There’s so much to do, and writing my way into a murder mystery–no matter how compelling–just isn’t how I can spend those prime lunch hours at this point.

Makes sense. No problem. I had my Toodledo list all cued up and ready to be checked off today, promptly at 11:55.

So how is it that I didn’t do a single thing on the list and cracked out another 500 words of the novel? The writer in me is going head to head with the planner and it’s kind of a fun match to watch, even though I know both of them will be sitting ringside in a matter of days. I’m rooting for the writer, honestly.┬áIt’s just wrong to abandon these characters as they are walking toward me, forming bone and breath out of the darkness. I know I will have to put the book aside temporarily and when that time comes, the choice will be no choice at all; I will be holding on to something much greater than words and stories, but right now it still feels like abandonment. Any tips, writer/mother friends, on how to set your paper children down gracefully?