After all the hard work I put myself through to write the damn thing, I mustered all of my energy to simply push my manuscript out of my mind. We needed a break. It was only the smartest thing to do for our relationship.
After some time apart, I have worked myself up to finally approaching it again and facing it head-on. We can make this work! We can be happy together!
For many writers, this is an essential step in the writing process. In Stephen King’s On Writing, he states that he leaves his manuscripts for six to eight weeks before beginning the editing process. I recently read that some writers take a week, maybe one month. I didn’t do much research on this before taking my “break”, but I figured if the one and only Stephen King took about eight weeks off, I sure as hell was going to do the same.
Even though I was not actively working on my current novel, there are still many writerly activities that kept me occupied. These are some activities I suggest doing as you take time away from your manuscript:
1. Read. Overt the past two months, I read three books: Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling. If you want to be a good writer, you must read! Books are some of the best teachers. Take this time to read books in the genre in which you are writing and books you don’t normally read. You never know what you could learn.
2. Listen to writing podcasts, watch writing-themed YouTube videos, or research writing techniques to make you a better writer. I LOVE the podcast, Writing Excuses, and I have listened to several of their episodes during this “time off”. I especially have watched a ton of YouTube videos from my favorite YouTube author, Jenna Moreci. She is hilarious, honest, and offers the BEST writing advice. She has been on YouTube for several years now, so she has lots of very informative content to learn from. This is a good time to learn from what other experienced writers have to say about writing.
3. Start on your next project. If it could take several years for an author to write and publish a book from beginning to end, wouldn’t you want a head start on your next project? I want to keep writing, keep improving, keep learning. Take this time to think about what you want to write next. You can also outline and draft in between editing rounds, as I will do. I already got a start on planning my next book; if you’re into sci-fi, stay tuned!
4. Continue writing. You don’t have to work on a giant project. Journal or practice with writing prompts. For example, try checking out Twitter accounts like this one that only post writing prompts. Have fun and keep learning!
Now you are prepared to return to your beloved manuscript with fresh eyes. Best of luck to you and have fun!
I’ve heard of the saying, if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough—and I am now fully understanding it. This book writing thing is scary. My heart fluttered even as I printed it out for goodness sake. The moment I hit the “invite all friends” button on Facebook for my professional profile, I thought to myself, well, that was terrifying.
This is the scariest most fun hardest thing I have ever done—and it could be for you, too!
Featured image by pixel2013 on Pixabay