Friday, September 4, 2015

Sometimes You Need A Break - 5 Times To Step Back From Your Writing

Happy Labor day weekend everyone! I hope that most of you have the weekend off, but for those of you who don't, my thoughts are with you. When I worked in the costumer service industry I always had to work the holiday weekends. I understand your plight.

In fact, I still work the holiday weekends - I'm a writer, I'm always writing. 

But there are times when you need to allow yourself some time off. One of those times is when you've finished writing your rough draft. Another is when your book is completed and you've sent it off to your beta-readers, or editor. There are times you need to walk away from your book and regroup, or even celebrate your accomplishment.

1. You have finished your rough draft

Once you are done, you should walk away from your book for several weeks - some say a month. Why? Because when you come back to it you will have fresher eyes to begin your revisions. Revising your work can be daunting and you need to have focus and a clear head. It also helps with your patience with critique marks.

2. The next round

So you've gone through the book, and you've learned a lot - at least you believe you have. Now is the time to go through the book a second time. If it's your 3rd or 4th book, you probably won't need to go through it with a fine toothed comb, but you still need to read through and catch as many mistakes as you can. 

You still should give your brain and eyes a rest at this point. Even if it is only a week. It helps you, again, to see your work clearer. What I found with this round is my writing had improved tremendously by the time I came to the end of the first revision process. This is where you end up rewriting your first few chapters more times than you care to imagine. Of course, after doing that, it can change your story dramatically and you end up doing a full second round of critiques.

That's okay, it needs to be clean and tight for your readers.

3. Final run through

So you've gone through it twice. You definitely need a break! Set the manuscript down and go have some fun. Celebrate your accomplishment. Not everyone can write a book.

Your final run through should consist of reading it out loud. It is amazing how many mistakes you can find when you do this. If you read it to someone who knows a thing or two about books, like an avid reader, or someone who has worked in the editing industry, all the better. They will point out all kinds of thing you would never have thought of, like dress your characters more, dull spots, stronger, or more appropriate verbs. These are added bonuses to your read through.

4. You've sent it off to your beta-readers

I usually give my beta readers two weeks to read the book and list any mistakes or comments. During this time you need to catch up on other things in your life. Try to stay busy and relax. Once you get their thoughts/marks back, you will be back at it again, so you need a good break from book brain here.

5. Now it's on it's way to the editor

Depending on the size of your book, this can take a month to six weeks usually. Plenty of time to regroup. Sure, your mind will be anxious to get it out to your fans, but you need to remember when you get it back from the editor, you still have weeks of fixes. 

Self-publishing a book is a lot of work, but can be so rewarding. Be patient with yourself, and with the process. And remember, give yourself breaks - you deserve it!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Love, Lisa

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