The Wait (IWSG June)

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!

The awesome co-hosts for this month’s posting are J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Forster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria.

To see what others in the IWSG have to say this month, click here: Blog Hop.

Insecure Writer's Support Group badge with name and a lighthouse in the background.
IWSG bloghop image

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…

SWANCON swan logo over a background of the sun rising over Earth, and information:
Swancon 2021 A Brave New World, June 5th, 6th and 7th
Swancon logo and information
Header image: hourglass by Eduin Escobar from Pixabay

20 thoughts on “The Wait (IWSG June)

  1. Hi,

    You go, Lady! I have let a manuscript sit for up to seven years. In fact, all the manuscripts that are being published now were babies that I incubated for a long time.
    Wishing you all the best at your Swancon and have a lovely month of June.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “[W]ho can leave a manuscript for a year or longer?” [hand waving wildly] Me! Me! And as far as I can see, it’s going to sit a whole lot longer. We broke up, I’ve moved on to a new project. 😀

    Swancon sounds like it will be a blast. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I like the way you describe it. I do have one unfinished MS in a drawer that’s been around for 10 years and never reached the end of draft 1… That’s an on-again-off-again relationship lol. Good luck with your new project and thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  3. Ha! Love the zombie addition. Good luck on your panels. They’re such fun to do, and you may walk away with some new friends.

    Shannon @ The Warrior Muse (thewarriormuse [dot] com)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great advice, Emma! I need to fight with myself to allow my longer stories to rest. I’m always afraid I will never get to them again. All best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like to leave my WIPs in a metaphorical drawer for a while in between drafts. I like them to stay there for at least a month, but usually aim for three. One WIP, however, stayed in the drawer for about eight years, so I’m flexible…or lazy.

    Enjoy the conference!

    Liked by 1 person

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