Writing Tip #5: Break It Off

Break it off. Your relationship has become too involved. You’re too close and need some distance. Think of it as some time away, a mini vacation. It won’t be all that bad. I promise.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to take a break. No, you shouldn’t stop writing. I mean once you’ve finished that draft, you need to take a break from the story. As hard as it might be, let it sit for as long as you can—the longer the better. This needs to be a minimum of a week. A month is better.

But you want to finish your revisions and edits so you can get your baby out into the world.

I know. I know.

However, if you take a break from your manuscript, it allows your mind to remove itself from the story. This makes editing a lot easier, because you see the text with a different set of eyes—those of a reader, not the writer.

As I said above, this doesn’t mean you should stop writing. Au contraire. You need to continue writing so you can keep your creative juices flowing and remain busy enough that you’ll truly let that other manuscript sit.

So, go ahead and start that new story. Or work on the query and synopsis for this novel.

Whatever you do, leave that first manuscript alone. Do. Not. Touch. It.

Have you tried this method before? What’s the longest you’ve gone before reworking the story? What’s the shortest time you’ve waited between writing and editing? When do you let your story sit? Is it after the first draft, every draft, or just the draft before you begin the final edit?

Lynnette Labelle

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