Having written up a second, third or thirtieth draft of any substantial writing project, I find that it benefits from resting a while. Writing and resting work in progress, I may decide not to look at it for, say, four or six months, and meantime take up another project to work on. It is good to have several projects on the go at once, I find, because that keeps me fresh.
Letting a book rest has obvious advantages. The more we write, the better we get, and sometimes, with the passage of a short while, it is very clear where a passage can be improved, which we thought perfect when it was being consigned to its enforced rest. I am grateful for the opportunity to improve, which time offers. After all, where’s the hurry? Unless an editor is actually breathing down our necks, why not slow the pace down and focus more on thoughtful enjoyment? Sometimes, my focus on a daily word count is a bit counter-productive.
Working alone, I also value the shift in perspective that time offers. Ideas that now feel hopelessly naïve, opinions that are exposed as a little under-proved, and examples that are perhaps just a bit too esoteric, are all easier to spot with a bit of distance. Plot weaknesses are also easier to home in on. It is amazing how often I can read through a piece without spotting that I’ve changed names half way through.
And we writers can be touchy. We don’t like other people to tell us what is ‘wrong’ with our writing; so leaving a book to mature is one way of making sure that when someone doesn’t like our writing, it is for personal, rather than pedantic reasons.
Thanks for reading.