Tuesday, June 1, 2021

IWSG June - Shelf Life

 This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for June 2021.


Alex's awesome co-hosts this month
 are: 

 J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, 
Please stop by their blogs and say thank you



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June 2nd question - 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 have enough writing experience that my first draft is now much closer to the published version than in the early days of my writing journey. That said, it's still good to let my WIP sit before going back for an editing pass. A couple of weeks to a month is usually enough.

(Newbies, take heart. My first novel, An Honorable Man, was shelved and edited multiple times over nearly a decade before it was published.) 

Because I work full-time at a regular job, I write when I can. I rarely have to plan shelvings. I get forced breaks from drafting. If I've been away for a long time, I go back and do a read-through to re-orient myself to the details of the story.

One thing that has improved my distance and my objectivity greatly is to type a symbol to mark the place I stopped writing (I use ***). That way I can doc-search the WIP when I open it up and go straight to that location. Doing this keeps me from reading as I scroll and getting caught up in endless editing loops.

What about you?

Oh, and I hear Feedburner is going away. 😕 I heard about Follow.it as an alternative. It has a free version, so I'm going to give it a try.

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IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering  support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list

25 comments:

  1. Yeah, I've been given Feedburner options, but they all cost. Bummer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got an email from someone promoting follow.it who claims the basic version is free.

      Delete
  2. I'm writing a little more consistently now that I work part-time but am still busy and have to squeeze writing in like you. I just switched to follow.it for email subscribers. I chose the free option. They have a how-to guide. They also emailed me about joining and when I responded, they really walked me through the process.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,
    It is a good thing to leave a marker on your manuscript to know where you last stop. I also date each version. that I edit.
    Wishing you a lovely month of June.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to save dated copies of my manuscripts before a major edit. Now I only do that if I'm not sure about the changes I'm about to make or if I plan to cut a whole scene or chapter.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

      Delete
  4. I think letting a draft sit is always a good idea, just to get some fresh perspective. My shorter work takes a shorter break. I have a novel that will likely languish forever. But no worries - I have another book on the front burner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first novel languished a long, long time. Sometimes they deserve to. LOL Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  5. Hi Melissa, I envy you that your first drafts are close to the published versions. I'm trying to get there. Stay safe.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After editing multiple WIPs, you learn the changes you have to make (show don't tell, avoid adverbs, etc.), so you finally get to where you don't write it in the first place.

      Delete
  6. It takes me months to draft a novel. During that time, I either go back and change some plot/character things or make a lot of notes. I give myself a couple of days break then go back and fix all that. Then I wait about a month before I go back and edit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your writing process sounds a lot like mine.

      Delete
  7. When I'm with people who read, but don't write, I love to hear their ideas about what we do. They have no idea about the process or the time and work it takes. They should be reading blogs like yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the ones that complain about books - 'You had ONE job.' Nope. I had to plot, characterize, stay in POV, describe, pace...
      LOL

      Delete
  8. Yeah, sometimes you just needs some time away from the draft. I have not made a set opinion for myself yet. Happy Writing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hearing about a decade long earlier draft is actually very comforting to me, so thank you for that! And it's also encouraging to hear that more experience makes it easier (less hard? anyway?) to jump back into the writing after an enforced life break. Happy IWSG day!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'll have to check out some feed options. Looking through your comments, follow.it is the place to start.

    You know, it takes so long for me to finish anything, the early chapters probably get shelved for several months before I circle back to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, now. My current WIP has taken a long break while I moved.

      Delete
  11. I had no life when I was working and writing full time;) I imagine it's the same with most writers:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. If I try to do anything fun or get involved in any groups/activities, my writing suffers. Just switching back from part time to full time almost killed my writing career. It remains to be seen whether or not I can revive it.

      Delete
  12. It must be totally exasperating to work full time and juggling a family and then find time to put words on paper or computer...LOl. That's why I didn't start getting serious as a writer until my late forties when the kids were starting college and I was only working part time. Good luck in all your endeavors!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm still working on my first story, so we'll see how much better the first drafts become with practice. We'll see what my editor has to say.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yep, I have a full-time job that often spills into my writing time, so I've learned to make the most of the time I have. I'd rather not take voluntary breaks. I will sometimes try a couple of short stories, for example, while letting a WIP rest.

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. = )