The Bodies in My House

Blog Post 27 Manuscript CC Seth Sawyers

Photo courtesy of Seth Sawyers and

I keep bodies in my house.  Before you run to call the police or the FBI, let me clarify that I mean the bodies of the manuscripts I’ve written that have died a natural death.

It can take years to bring a product to the point where it’s ready for consumption by the public.  It may be a piece of software, a drug developed by a pharmaceutical company, or a cake created by a baker.

It can also be a novel drafted by a writer.

Why does it take so long?


Skills take time to learn, usually years, not months, weeks or days.  That may seem like an alien concept in today’s fast-food, instant-download, gotta-have-it culture here in the United States.  But truth be told, bringing products up to the caliber the public uses takes a lot of steps forward and backward, trial and error, and sheer determination.  The best of anything takes time.  That makes it even sweeter when you can see others enjoy what you’ve created.

It’s no different with my novels.  Before my first novel ever came out, I’d drafted approximately ten manuscripts.  Those started the year I graduated high school.

I wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote.

With maturity, training, and life experience, my writing has improved.

I have the dead bodies of manuscripts, mostly in my computer, to show as proof.  Why do I keep them around?  Many reasons.

  • I’m lazy. You may think that’s a silly reason. It’s not. I’m so focused on what I’m doing now and looking to what I want to do that I don’t take the time to cull out those manuscripts I have no desire to finish.
  • I’m sentimental. I like to joke that I’m a recovered packrat. While that’s true for physical things, I keep a few things around that mean a lot to me. That includes my writing. I’ve spent a lot of time either in front of a typewriter (back in the bad old days before computers became commonplace) or a computer. I poured a lot of time into these manuscripts, a lot of effort, and even some tears. I also hesitate to hit the Delete key because of my final point.
  • They show me how far I’ve come. When I wrote that very first novel starting in the summer of 1990, I’d had a total of one writing class in high school and eighteen years of life. In other words, my writing experience was virtually nil, as was my life experience. Still, it was a step, the first of many as I began learning about the craft of writing and applying it as well as living life.

Do you have a product you’re working on?  Maybe you love needlework and want to share it with others.  Or, you’re a woodworker who enjoys making furniture.  You could be a software designer on the side who harbors a dream of creating an app with which you could start your own company.  Regardless, treasure those items that tie you to your humble beginnings.  I know space may limit you, but I encourage you to keep pieces that act as signposts in your maturity in creating your product.  That way, I won’t be the only one accused of keeping bodies in the house.

Question:  What product have you been working on for years that you one day dream to take to market and sell?

This post does not mention any products.  Therefore, I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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