This week I want to talk to you about the importance of taking a break from your current work-in-progress once you’ve finished your first draft – and why this is vital when you get stuck back in for editing.
Maybe it’s already happened, maybe the moment has yet to come, but once you finish your current book there will be a whirlwind of emotions. Hopefully, they include satisfaction, fulfilment, longing, and the end of an experience of pure hard work, focus and determination. Writing a book is no easy feat, if it was, many more people would do it.
When I finished my first book, I couldn’t even believe it. Writing Anon took up my entire life, it seemed, and now that the journey was over, it all felt so surreal. A couple of days later I began rewriting, realising how much editing it needed, and then a year later I have a rewritten version with nearly half of the original word count (the original stood at above 160K). I thought the rewrite was much better, much cleaner, and a pretty decent book overall. But even now that I have finished, I am still finding typos, still finding inconsistencies, and some elements that make me want to tear my hair out.
That is why, once you have finished your manuscript, you must take a break. No matter how excited and satisfied you are, your first or second draft will not be the best it can be. You need to sit back, have a break (with or without a KitKat), because it’s only when you look at your manuscript with fresh eyes that you can really work on polishing your work.
This does sound frustrating, but keep reminding yourself of how far you’ve come. Only a small number of the small margin of people that are crazy enough to write a novel actually finish it. While you’re on your break, work on something new. Engross yourself again with the joy and excitement of a new project.
That break will really take your mind away from the original novel, and you can read it more objectively when you get back to it a couple of months later. You can realise that you never actually fully explained that important point about the antagonist’s job description, or find out that you’ve accidentally given your blue-eyed character brown eyes halfway through.
Wherever you are on the writing journey, keep going! And if editing is something that you like to leave to the end or something you like to conduct as you go along, remember the importance of taking a break from your current work so that you can look upon your creation with fresh eyes and make it as perfect as you imagine it to be.