Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May IWSG & How to Beat Manuscript Codependency

The Insecure Writer's Support Group  post day is the perfect time to publicly announce my admittance. I am a manuscript codependent. According to Wiki, the term codependency refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. In my case, "another" refers to my current manuscript and my need to control it.

When it comes to my manuscript, I have extreme control issues. It can't survive or get better without me. Nobody can help, but me. I put my manuscript above the care & feeding of myself. This is no bueno. Eating is essential. And if you want people to like you, showering, is too.

Having a history with codependency, I can relate the condition to my writing.

Learning when to let it go... to beta readers, is crucial. So, if you're anything like me, this may help. I've come up with twelve steps to recovery.

The 12 Steps of Recovery for Manuscript Codependents

  1. Admit you’re powerless over the darned manuscript, and your writerly life has become unmanageable.
  2. Make the decision to turn over your manuscript to a few trusted beta readers.
  3. Beg, plead, or coerce them to read your manuscript.
  4. With the help of these brave beta readers, you may regain a shred of sanity.
  5. While waiting for betas to finish, do something completely different.
  6. Consider all ideas / suggestions from betas (They may see what you can’t or won't.).
  7. Make an honest, fearless list of what sucks about your manuscript.
  8. Admit to yourself and everyone around you what sucks about your manuscript.
  9. Make the decision to fix what sucks about your manuscript.
  10. Humbly thank everyone who pointed out your manuscript’s shortcomings.
  11. Through blood, sweat, and tears, rewrite that darned thing.
  12. After having a spiritual awakening with your revised manuscript, as a result of these steps, carry this message to other manuscript codependents, and help them see the light.
Chuck Wendig offers hilarious revision tips. Warning: He is prone to dropping the f-bomb.


From the IWSG website: Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. 

If you're interested in joining the Insecure Writer's Support Group, click on the link above. You can also visit them on Facebook.


  1. Really good job with this, Candilynn! You should be very proud of getting your manuscript under control! So many of us have control issues from time to time. I"m sure your story will be fantastic when it's done.

  2. Your twelve steps are funny!
    I have no problem shipping my manuscript off to critique partners and then making changes they suggest. I guess that's a good thing.

    1. You are one of the brave writers I envy, Alex!

  3. Haha! I love this list! I have definitely put my manuscripts and books before feeding myself, which was not a good thing because I lost six pounds I didn't need to lose and almost became dehydrated. Not good!

    Beta readers can help a lot.

    Sharing! :D

    1. Here's to not letting our manuscripts come before our health, Chrys!

  4. Great take on the 12-steps. You're a hoot! LOL

    IWSG #224 until Alex culls the list again.

  5. Haha...if your manuscript is as clever as this post--girl--go for it! I have a google alert that scans for the term "codependency" as I am a ACoA Life Coach that helps my clients debunk their old dysfunctional codependent thinking programs--through awareness training. When I read your post--I laughed out loud--because it is so darn clever. I just had to reach out and touch you with those thoughts. Keep up the good!

    1. Lisa, I think this may be the very first time one of my writerly posts have brought someone outside to this blog. Good for you and being a ACoA life coach. There are many out there seeking your help. What a great thing you're doing! I use humor in my writing to hide the pain and frustration. I do have serious issues letting my writing out. I'm quite certain others experience this, too. Thank you so much for your visit and comments. Keep up your wonderful work! :)

  6. Loved your twelve steps....

    Thankfully I do all those and get my ms' to my betas and try to find a few new ones on occasion for a different pov. We are a fantastic and CREATIVE community, and we can learn SO much from other writers if we just let them in...

    1. Thanks, Michael. We are a fantastic community. :)

  7. I think this may be my problem! My WIPs all live in this thing called a file system on my computer, all 3 manuscripts, incomplete and sad. While they sit there waiting on me, I'm free and in control. This minute I make the decision to open any of them, I know I will become the slave I was several months ago. I fear going back. Sometimes I feel I may fail if I do.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Funny post! I'm lucky to have awesome CPs, and I take all their comments to heart. I know they'll make my ms way better than I could by myself. Perhaps I'm codependent on my CPs!!

  9. Loved this funny, and all-too-true post about manuscript codependency! I have some awesome proofers hard at work on the last bit of mine at the moment. :)

  10. Great list! Sometimes is hard to let go, but a little separation can be a good thing :)

  11. So funny, so true! Throw that baby out there. It's hard sometimes.

  12. It's tough knowing when to let go isn't it? You have to trust in your CPs and betas though, and know your manuscript is in good hands.

    I think your 12 point plan offered some great advice.

    Good luck finishing the revisions on your MS, and handing it over to betas. And, if you ever need an extra pair of eyes, all you have to do is ask. ;)

  13. Love the 12 step program adaption for writers. Wise advice!

  14. that's awesome! hilarious and true!
    i love your new header - so YOU! =)

    and ps - be a love and put a link to your blog in your "about" section on google + profile
    happy tuesday!

  15. Hiya sistah! Sorry it's taken me so long to get to your post :( But I'm here now :) I love your steps. Advice I need to follow. And your new header ROCKS. Two thank yous: one, for your wonderful comments on my blog last week that made me smile and tear up, two, for your awesome insight on that stuff I sent you :D You're the best!!