Frequently Asked Question: Shelf Life

Well, here we are on the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for a question from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Here we go: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

I put it aside for a minimum of 30 days, regardless of genre. I didn’t always, but I’ve found that this technique helps tremendously. It allows me to see plot holes, and figure out whether I even want to proceed with publication.

Thing is, I never delete work completely. I have come back to a manuscript a couple of years later, for example Hugs and Hisses, and discovered that work which initially disappointed me was actually quite good. It just needed to be right time/season for me to see that. Another disappointing manuscript eventually became the Pocketful of Stories series as I pulled out all of the useful bits and left the rest behind.

Without having the perspective of that 30-day minimum break, I wouldn’t have been able to see the flaws or good qualities very well at all. Deciding to put things on the proverbial shelf for a while has made an enormous difference in my authorial process.

4 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Question: Shelf Life

  1. That’s good to know that you have gone back to an older manuscript and seen how good it was. I’m hoping I’ll have the same reaction when I pick up an old manuscript I’d like to revise someday.

    Liked by 1 person

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