I just finished my first draft of my children’s novel. It took about 38 days of writing, but many factors influenced this. One factor is that I wrote very lightly, and had poor productivity due to real-life work and other factors. However my first drafts tend to be sparse and need to be heavily expanded. While I don’t have a word count handy for it, my last novel’s draft I doubled in size during the rewriting process. This novel won’t be different. I lost momentum towards the end, and many plot threads and scenes I failed to include. This book is going to require a lot more editing than my first one, though in a different way. The problem with the first was I had no middle and had to create it.
That first book also showed me that not all good advice on editing can be applicable to everyone. The common wisdom is that once you finish it, set it aside for a week and let it sit before you begin editing it. That I did, but one week stretched into months. I found that rather than take a break and be energized to begin the heavy work of corrections, I took one and it fed into my fears about editing. That if I looked at the book, I’d find it was a piece of junk, or that I’d never be able to edit it. I was afraid to face my own book.
While I did get to editing it, it’s still just a file on my computer. The first novel made me believe I could be organized enough to write and edit one, and hopefully this one will make me believe I can get it published, or do well with it self-published. The important point I’d like to make is that any writing rule has to also take into account your own personal vulnerabilities and personality issues, because even a good rule can be used to bolster bad behavior. It’s good to get people to read it, but if you are constantly sending your book to beta reader after beta reader, you might be using good advice to hide your fear that you really can’t succeed in the publishing game.
I am planning to let it set for two days only, with an editing time of two months. I need strict deadlines because I am a natural procrastinator, so my rules have to be tailored to that. As you write, you’ll find similar situations where you have to disregard good advice. Don’t feel bad about it, but don’t also excuse it entirely! The end goal of the one-week rule is that you should approach your work fresh from the creative rush of the first draft. Reducing the time to freshen up from that doesn’t defeat the purpose of doing so, but instead prevents momentum from being lost and focuses me even more on my work and my growth as a writer.
Please wish me luck in doing so.