Step Away From The Manuscript

This makes me want to crack open all my Calvin and Hobbes books

Step away from the manuscript.

We've all heard that advice, right? When you've finished, put it aside, work on something else, read, hone your craft, heck just live your life, and then come back to the manuscript later. Why? Because you'll have fresh eyes.

Here's something else I've learned that happens when you step away from the manuscript.

I wrote Sway last fall, and then put it aside like a good little author for max a month maybe. Then I did a revision on it before I sent it off to my first reader. When she sent it back, I did another round of revisions and then sent it off to four new readers around January. I wasn't in a rush with Sway and told them so. I've now gotten back all four rounds of notes, and realize I've got some major changes to make, so right now, I'm just reading through the MS and jotting down notes without making through-the-MS changes yet.

So here's what I've learned (I'm getting to it, I swear): When I finish a first draft, there's this high that comes. Like, "I'm awesome, I finished another MS, look at me go, oh yeah, oh yeah." I also get this feeling of, "this MS is AWESOME!" When I revised Sway after only a month, I was still on that high. Still amazed with my own awesomeness. Still feeling like the MS was near-perfect.

I know, I know, don't laugh, but it's true. I get blinded by the fact that I've finished another MS, and I mistakenly think that the manuscript itself is genius.

Six months later I'm painfully aware that IT'S NOT.

That feeling of awesomeness is a great thing, and I wouldn't take it away- it doesn't last long. But it's important for me to step away from the manuscript long enough so not only do I have fresh eyes, but I no longer have blind manuscript-infatuation. Long enough that just finishing isn't enough anymore, but making it the BEST it can be is what matters.