Friday, July 23, 2010

Draft in the drawer

I've heard wise writers say that after they finish a draft, they put it in a drawer for a month to separate themselves from it before they start revisions. The deadlines on my last two projects ruled out such a hiatus, and I was relieved not to have to decide whether to take one. I've mentioned before that keeping my head in my novel's world is an important part of my writing process, enough so that even on super-busy days, I try to freewrite or edit a page or something. There's a little part of me that worries I'll forget the particulars of the story if I step away from it. What if I forget what happens? What if I forget the main character's middle name and give her a new one?

But still, I stepped away yesterday, and I'm considering staying away for a week or so. There are plenty of opportunities for writing in the meantime. I don't think it would make sense to start a new novel at this point, but there's freelance work, and there are friends who challenge me out of the blue to write fairy tales about sisters named Anhedonia, Euthymia, and Euphoria. (This should tell you something about my friends.) But am I allowed to read articles about revision and Making Your Manuscript Better? Or am I supposed to turn off all WIP-related thoughts? (I know, I know, I make the rules.)

At least if I only give myself a week, then if Laurie Halse Anderson gives us an August challenge like last year, I can still potentially do it. LHA, you are the Oprah of the writing-for-children-and-young-adults world.


  1. Did you know that you're the first thing that comes up if one googles 'Anhedonia, Euthymia, Euphoria'?

  2. Wow, I feel like I should apologize to the actual psychiatrists who deserve that honor.