A Writer’s Worst Nightmare

This is the one, you think. The one you’ve been hoping for and working toward. The story that you will finally publish.

You’ve spent years honing your craft. You’ve read the books. You’ve listened to the podcasts. You’ve written ALL the words.

But nothing you’ve written has ever seemed good enough to actually publish. Your work has been full of plot holes, timeline errors, and enough typos to qualify your words as an entirely new, and chaotic language.

But now, you’ve put your time in and you’ve done the work. You’ve improved. And now? This is the story. The one you have been waiting for.

And today? Today will be the day you finish your very final edit.

You wake up with a luxurious stretch. Are your sheets softer today? They feel softer—like the down of a baby goose. There’s no hurry to get out of bed. You have all day to work on your project, but you won’t need it. You’re so close to done.

When you do finally tumble out of bed, the carpet is cool and springy beneath your feet. You enjoy the walk to the kitchen. Caffeine is called for, of course, so you make yourself some coffee. The toffee-flavored kind is on the menu today; It’s your favorite and you deserve a treat.

There’s a slight chill in the air. The sticky summer heat has finally left for good, and Halloween is nearly upon you.

You turn on the orange string lights above your desk as you sip your coffee—the warm, slightly bitter liquid waking your soul. Curling up in your desk chair, you throw a blanket over your lap and get comfy. You set your full mug down next to your laptop and begin your morning routine. Once your computer is on, you open up the internet browser. It can’t hurt to check Twitter and Instagram, just for a little bit.

Other writers are sharing their own good and bad fortunes. You’ve been in both positions and can empathize, but you think that no one is having a better day than you today.

A furry tail wraps its way around your ankle. A quick glance at the floor reveals a hopeful tabby face. A soft meow begs your permission. You’re feeling indulgent, so you reach down to scratch those big satellite ears, but hold firm when he tries to climb into your lap. You can’t be distracted from your work any longer today. Kitty bonding time will just have to wait.

You ignore another meow and turn back to your computer. Time to finally get to work.

You open up your Scrivener file, ignoring the meows and chirps coming from around your ankles.

You take a moment to bask in the glow of your nearly finished manuscript. Eighty-thousand words of your best work is all there, a testament to the fact that you haven’t been wasting your time with this whole writing thing. Taking a single sip of coffee, you enjoy the heat as it trickles down your throat. You reach down to set it back on the desk, but there’s another loud, desperate meow before your lap is filled with a pleased and purring cat. The motion jostles your arms. You try to hold on to the cup in your hand, but coffee sloshes over the side, making the mug slick. As you grapple with it, it slips from your fingers and spills all over your laptop.

There are sparks. And then? There is only blackness on your screen.

Your cat is purring, oblivious to the damage he just caused, as you realize that, despite how many times you said you would, you never made a backup copy of your manuscript.


Moral of the story: ALWAYS back up your work.

Happy Halloween!

Published by Robin J

I’m an aspiring novelist who hasn’t quite figured out this whole writing thing. I’ve been scribbling down stories since I was a little kid, but only dared to dream that I could write something worth reading as I became an adult. At 33, I still feel like I have a lot of progress to make before I’m ready to try publishing, but I’m getting better every day. Typically I write Fantasy (of both the Adult and YA varieties), but I have dipped my toe in Romance and Sci-Fi. When coming up with a story to write, all I care about is that the plot grabs my attention and the characters tug at my heartstrings. The genre is an afterthought. I tend to set myself lofty goals. Mostly I fail, but occasionally I surprise myself and succeed. Either way, I enjoy being pushed beyond the limits of what I thought I could do. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with the Milwordy challenge. I may or may not reach the full million words, but I know I’m going to learn a lot along the way. I hope you will, too!

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