Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Writers Society: Meeting 2

Order! Order, everyone!

*pounds gavel*

You in the back there—I know this is the Happy Writers Society, but if you'd please stop that giggling for one second. We're starting all official like.

*secretary scribbles minutes on notepad*

Welcome! I'm so happy you all showed up! It's nerve wracking to start something and wonder if anyone will care, but so many people stopped by our first meeting. Thank you so much.

As for items of business, I'd like to point you to Kristan's blog for my semi-usual Friday Sketch. She asked me to do a guest post, and that turned into a rather interesting drawing of "The (De)Evolution of a Writer."

Also, if we could take our shoes off in the clubhouse, the carpet will stay clean longer. I'd hate to use up all our HWS funds (currently at $0.06) for that.

And now onto the major issue today. I've been informed of a very serious writing disorder:

Manuscript Dysmorphia
This condition is characterized by an exaggeration and obsession over of a manuscript's flaws. A writer with Manuscript Dysmorphia will likely continue to obsess over flaws even once they've been resolved in the manuscript. They constantly worry that others will see through their revisions to the "ugly, deformed" first draft underneath. They are never happy with their work, even once it's beautiful, edited, or published.

Left unchecked, Manuscript Dysmorphia can lead to other writing-related issues:
• Decreased motivation
• Inability to start/finish WIPs
• Compulsive editing
• Over-editing
• Lack of self-confidence
• Inability to accept praise
• And much more

As members of HWS, it is our duty to not only spread awareness of Manuscript Dysmorphia, but to help those suffering.

If you know someone who might have Manuscript Dysmorphia, the most important thing you can do is tell them. Realizing you have it is the first step to healing. The writer may also need a listening ear, someone to talk through their issues so they can pinpoint why they have this disorder. Encouragement is also key—let the writer know that their work is good. It may need more work, but assure them that it isn't as bad as they think it is.

If this doesn't work, advise the writer to refer to older drafts of the manuscript in question. Point out how they've resolved the issues and their manuscript no longer has those problems.

It also doesn't hurt to have a plate of cupcakes at ready.

With time, hopefully the writer will be able to see their manuscript with a more forgiving, realistic eye. I'm counting on you, my dear HWS members, to make a stand against Manuscript Dysmorphia.

That concludes business for today. The Punktuations! will be playing in the ballroom, and there's a full buffet for your enjoyment. Also, laptops if you need to check your email first. I get that. Enjoy!

*steps down from podium*


  1. LOL Oh my gosh, you pointed out my disease!! I think knowing when it is good enough is the hardest problem there is for a writer.

  2. My name is Marie and I have terminal MD. ::raises a cupcake:: Thank you for bringing light to the illness! It's good to not feel so very alone. ::raises another cupcake...raises three more to stuff in her bag for later::

  3. I think no writer will ever be 100% happy with their writing but striving to be better is not a bad thing. The trick is to know when to release the manuscript and walk away with as must grace as you can muster.

  4. So THIS is what I have? GADS! Had I only KNOWN!


  5. My name is Dara and I too suffer from MD. ::raises cupcake in Marie's direction::

    It's nice to know it now has a name :P

    However, I think I made some progress in defeating this illness last night when one of my crit group members told me that last week, while I'd missed the meeting, he discussed with another member how much they both liked my writing. :) That helped increase my self-confidence!

    Anyway, have a nice weekend and following week! I will have a lot of catching up to do on your blog when I come back from vacation.

  6. This is awesome. A totally smile-worthy post.

  7. This is awesome. I feel like it needs to be in poster form so I can hang it above my computer. I am currently in remission from MD, but I anticipate it flaring up again soon. ::raises cupcake to everyone::

    Natalie - your drawing was awesome...and so spot on.

  8. I have MD, I'd like to thank the HWS for helping me realize hours of tv is not legit therapy. Reading the very first draft was what I needed to realize it's better now. Not fixed but better.

    I also like how HWS has 6 cents.

  9. I'm totally suffering from this. I center so much of my time on the problems that it's hard to see why I wrote the thing (passionately) in the first place.

    We need to turn our left brains off and let our right brains relax a bit. It's Friday! Let's give ourselves a break! *raises chocolate cupcake with lime-coconut frosting*

  10. I've been self medicating with cookies, maybe I'll give cupcakes a try...

  11. Ha ha, this is awesome. But if you only had $.06 how did you find the money for the buffet and laptops? Oh well, I'll go help myself anyway.

  12. I suffer from this. Very badly. I totally agree with at drawing. Hello, cupcakes!

  13. Yes - I have this. I can't seem to get past it. I'm afraid everything I write sucks and it's not worth eimagven trying. It's so paralyzing all my creativity has dried up.

  14. The sad part? The first thing that popped into my head was "CRAP. I thought that was next week."

  15. Huzzah! Another meeting to defy the army of angst encroaching at our doorstep.

  16. THAT's why I eat too many M&Ms. Thanks Natalie!

  17. Hello, my name is Kathi and I have Manuscript Dysmorphia problem.

    Just thought I'd get that out of the way.

    Thanks for the chuckle while also teaching a lesson.

    I love what you've done to the club house. Now, can you help me down the ladder?

  18. Oh, wow! I have manuscript dysmorphia! Thank you Natalie for giving a name to my disease. It's such a relief to know I'm not alone ;)

  19. I loved your DeEvolution of a writer. Funny.

  20. *phew* Like many, I suffer from MD ::raises cupcake to everyone at this stupendous meeting:: and I love what you've done to this place!
    Your picture made me chuckle- thanks for that!

    Great meeting! Can't wait for next weeks!


    [Oh, on a totally unrelated front, have you read Howls Moving Castle and the sequel? They're awesome! Ooh, and have you watched 500 days of Summer? Best. Movie. EVER!!!!] :D

  21. I always here stories of ppl who submit before they're ready, and I think "I will never be that person. This ball of cactuswire I've written isn't even good enough to wrap stale fish in."

  22. Definitely just had a bad case of this one and it's a shame you weren't along sooner with your soothing balms.

    As it was, I had to chew my own legs off before the rot carried me away.

    Note to self: next time you chew off fictional legs, make them pistachio flovoured.

  23. I may have dysmorphia. Or I may actually suck.

    What if I'm only fooling myself into thinking my paranoia has no foundation in reality?

    What if waste time asking lame rhetorical questions in a blog comment to avoid working on my deeply flawed and overlong WiP?

  24. Ooo, I know someone who has MD! I better schedule an intervention, stat!

    Also, thanks for guest posting! I'm thinking about making your drawing my desktop background...

  25. This is an awesome second meeting. It was eye opening for me. Hi my name is Anita and I suffer from manuscript dysmorphia.

  26. OMG. I have it. Gah!!! Well, now that I know what's wrong, maybe I can fix it! Thanks Natalie :-)