It’s that time again – Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Every month we blog about our doubts and concerns, our struggles and triumphs. We connect from all around the blogosphere to share and encourage, both experienced writers and new. Feel free to join us!
To see what others in the IWSG have to say this month, click here: Blog Hop.
June question: For how long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and re-drafting it?
Oh, boy. This is one of the hardest things for me to do.
Best answer would be: as long as possible. You got to let that thing rest.
In reality: who can leave a manuscript for a year or longer? That draft calls out to me… not least because first drafts are always awful, and my hands are itching to redo it.
Most of the time, I leave the first draft of a short story for a week to a month. For a novel, at least one month, preferably three to six.
Why do I do this? I’ve got to give myself space before heading into edits. After spending an intense period getting that first draft down, it can be extremely difficult to change my mindset into ‘editor’ mode. AKA: seeing what is good and what isn’t, what is lacking and what might need only a tweak. The tendency of an immediate re-read of a first draft is to want to scrap it and start again (for me, at least). I need to allow myself enough time that I’ve forgotten some, if not all, of what I’ve written, and can then come back to the piece with ‘fresh eyes’.
Though if you can stand to leave a piece for a year or longer, you’ve a stronger will than me.
How about you? Do you think that your writing experience and number of stories under your belt affects how long you leave a first draft for?
In other news…
If you missed my recent post updating my querying status, do have a read. I’ve been honest, and I think you’ll agree that’s always good to share with other writers–especially those also in the ‘querying trenches’!
Next weekend I’ll be attending my very first genre conference, Swancon, here in Perth. Not only that, but I’ll be a panelist on two panels; one about Anne McCaffrey (one of my very favourite authors), and another about the problem of colonialist representation in early science fiction until today! Needless to say I’m both excited and very nervous. I’m sure I’ll blog about how it went, once the adrenaline calms down.
PS: Yes, that is a zombie attacking the swan. We blame a COVID shutdown for turning it into ZomCon…