Babies need 10-14 hours of sleep a day. If they do not get it, they are cranky and uncoopera… What? Yes, we are still A to Z’ing. During the coverage of the Mine Principle, we established your book is your baby. It needs a nap. Frankly, so do you.
One of the ways to bring up your unruly toddler manuscript to be a full-grown book is to be sure it is completely disciplined. We have covered a number of cogs in the machine to refining a WIP: editing, beta, deconstruction, cover… It was a lot of work. Time to rest.
You benefit from walking away from the manuscript because you fill the time with other activities which will change the way you view your work. To prove this concept, pick up anything you wrote more than a year ago. Unless you let that piece rest and reassessed it, you will find places where you can improve it. Even if you did, you still might.
At the end of the day, you are tired and have less energy to devote to tasks. This is particularly true when you consider the life of your manuscript as a day.
Once you have been over the book a dozen times in a month, you will have forgotten what the original was and what it looks like now. Stepping away will give you a better perspective.
For example, have you ever watched a television program where one of the cast was afflicted with a physical disease? At the time, you did not know about it. In the intervening time between the original airing of the show and syndication, you found out about the disease, the actor’s affliction and see all the symptoms in the episodes you are watching through new eyes.
The perspective shift is primarily due to what you do during your rest… even if you do absolutely nothing. Either way, the one thing you are doing for certain is not obsessing over your manuscript. Your mind lets go of the images of what you believe your manuscript says and becomes a blank canvas onto which you can sketch your book when you read it again.
You will be at your peak, the same way you would be if you woke up and picked up someone else’s book to critique. You are going to be fresh as a daisy by dropping all of your preconceptions, half-memories and goals.
Spores & Cracks
Once broken from its chrysalis, you are going to see either a beautiful butterfly or a moth with one smaller wing.
During the resting period, all the tiny spores you were too close to see on the manuscript bloomed. When you pick it back up, you find little patches of mold you are going to immediately want to scrape off. As it rested, the cracks opened a bit wider so you can see them (better, at all). You may even wonder who wrote it.
You may wonder if your beta readers actually read the book. Relax. You already know how to deconstruct.
The scraping is rather simple. Be sure to use a fresh nappy, wipes, powder and ointment.
Crack filling needs to be a balanced diet which feeds the remainder of the manuscript.
Once your manuscript is complete, take some time off. For all of those who claim they cannot take a day off, you actually can. Just schedule enough writing time (which is not assignment/WIP-driven) to mollify the Muse. If you are compelled to write, try something outside your typical style or genre.
Taking a break refreshes the mind, stimulates the imagination and keeps writing fresh and enjoyable.
How long do you let your works rest? Have you ever asked Who wrote this? What do you write when you are not working on a WIP?
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