What do you do when you accidentally throw half of your manuscript in the trash and ….

…by the time you realise it, the trash has already been collected?

I know the answer because that’s what happened to me this week. I threw out the pencil-edited second half of my manuscript. While I still had an electronic copy of the original (and a backup), a pile of first round notes and revisions were gone forever.

Here’s what I did next:

1.  Shrug. After all, I still have the original and surely there wouldn’t have been that many pencil notes.

2.  Panic. Because those notes and revisions were the most brilliant ideas and refinements I’ll ever have.

3.  Take a deep breath and get real. I know my first round edits are usually rubbish. Perhaps they’ve actually landed where they belong.

4.  Briefly consider cleaning up the office. My desk looks like an archaeology dig, with layers for the various things I’m doing all at once.


When my manuscript was still there – on the bottom of the pile in a plastic container folder.

5.  Remind myself this is not the problem. I’ve always worked like this. Einstein worked like this. He said: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”  Too right. #IStandWithAl

6.  Ask myself why this happened. Well, my child is in pain all day and it’s a slow process through to a solution. My best-friend sister has a potentially fatal illness having already survived 6 separate cancers. My day job is looking shaky. I’m making life-wide changes as the love-of-my-life retires soon. Plus other things that can’t be mentioned here because they are not my business to tell.

7.  So my concentration is elsewhere. On more important things. People that need me things.

8.  My priorities are where they should be. Half a manuscript of revisions and edits lost is nothing a chocolate bar can’t fix.  I’ll just do them again. They’re still in my head and they’ll be even better this time because I’ve had a practice run.

9.  Catastrophe averted.



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