So you’ve written your first draft and you’re eager to edit it, hone it, make your work shine. It’s your baby after all, right? You’e cared for it all those months and now you want to make sure you give it the best start in life by going over the details, line-by-line, paragraph-by-paragraph, and then chapter-by-chapter. You want to make sure the story flows, the characters are fully fleshed out, and the dialogues work. You are eager to take the next haul as a writer!
BUT STOP RIGHT THERE! Take a step back and take a breather. Step away from your manuscript and you’ll thank yourself for it. Trust me. But why? You ask. You’re excited enough and ready. So why should you delay taking your project to the next step of its journey? I’ll tell you why.
Looking at your book with fresh eyes
When you’ve written your first draft, put the manuscript away for at least two weeks. The reason behind this that when you come back to it again, it will be with like reading it with fresh eyes, like you have never come across this work before – or not for a while, anyway. It will be easier to spot mistakes, typos, and see what dialogue and plot works and what doesn’t. You can flush out the unnecessary words or sentences that don’t serve your story.
Taking a break can stimulate your imagination
When you are stuck on a chapter as many of us have been at some point in our lives – I know I have – step back from your work. Our minds are crowded as it is and it’s hard to find that extra space for the information we need. We need to clear our minds, bring back the excitement, and the drive that we could have lost along the way. And one way to do that is to close the manuscript and go on a ‘holiday.’ When you come back, your mind will be buzzing with ideas and you will be ready to go again!
You are tired
You have worked so hard on your book but now you’re tired. You can’t bear to read another word. You’re beginning to get irritated and you now wonder why you began to write in the first place. This is when you step away for a good few weeks. Go away and do something else. Read someone else’s book, go on a holiday, or go and watch a movie. Do anything, but don’t go back to your book until you’re ready to. When you come back, you will have recharged your batteries and you will fall in love with writing all over again.
So there you have it, three good reasons why is it imperative to take a break from your manuscript after you have finished your first draft, are stuck on a particular point in your manuscript, or are simply tired.
Go on, have your break now.