I’m swinging by just long enough to share with you a great guest blog by my friend Aimee Laine. She just published a book and wanted to share her thoughts on the value of time in the writing process.
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Before you press send, press hold!
If your muse is as active as mine, I’m writing every day, for a minute, an hour or maybe even long into the night, trying to capture every word my head conjures. What happens, then, when I hit ‘The End’?
I want to send that baby out to the world for publication.
Yeah, I know I still need to edit at that point, but the rush of finishing and the need for positive validation from ‘outside’ sources is often too much. My fingers will itch to hit ‘send’ on a piece that hasn’t been vetted by my critique partners.
At that point, my best option is to press ‘hold’ instead.
Why? We hear it all the time. “Let the story simmer.” “Let it sit awhile.” “A novel must gather some dust before it’s ready.”
I wrote the story. I know the ins and outs and the nuances. I know it’s ready. Why can’t I just send it out?
There’s an expression about not being able to find stuff — happens in my house all the time. Open the fridge. “Mom, there’s no milk!” Mom goes to the fridge and pulls the milk jug from a different spot in the fridge, hands it over and says “It’s right under your nose.” This applies to our writing, too because we’re so close to the situation, we expect our scenes and actions to be in the place we put them, that when it comes down to moving them around, knowing what works and doesn’t, we can’t FIND the points that need further work.
That’s where critique partners and editors (NOT friends and family) come into play. These folks also give us the opportunity to hold our stories. To wait a little longer before putting it out to the masses.
They give us this chance to see what we didn’t see.
And that takes time.
How much time?
My critique partner generally takes 4-6 weeks to read through my manuscripts, chapter by chapter.
So that’s a start.
Even then, it’s not enough.
Unless you’re writing for a contest with a deadline, I suggest holding your work (in days) for 1/2 the number of pages written. So a novel of 300 pages, hold it for 150 days (that’s only 4.8 months and for a novel, that’s actually short!
What does waiting do? It gives you, the author, perspective.
In writing Little White Lies, I wrote it in 45 days. Queried it 45 days later. It went nowhere. I submitted it to a contest 30 days later. Three months later, it lost, but I got some very valuable feedback. Another three months passed, I rewrote it and there it got interest. There, I could finally say a publisher, an editor, two editors, in fact, where interested.
I’d taken the time to figure out the kinks in the story. It took time to do that. Time to let it simmer.
I’ve taken this same action with articles and shorts and I have to tell you, the successes are mounting.
Give it time. It will only help in both quality and story.
Aimee Laine is the author of Little White Lies, a paranormal romance.
For Charley Randall, time is her greatest enemy. Wyatt Moreland’s love is her ultimate reward.
Buy it at your local bookstore | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | AllRomance | BooksOnBoard