8 Top Tips To Prevent Insanity When Resting Your Manuscript!

8 Top Tips For Resting Your ManuscriptIt took precisely 5 days and 23 hours after finishing the first draft of my novel before I lost the plot and felt like a rudderless ship. I know (stamps foot and pouts) I need to rest my manuscript. I’ve heard it said enough times to know it’s wise advice and that I have to do it (for as long as I can, which wont be that long).

But how do I cope in the mean time? I mean WHAT DO I DO NOW? I have spent the last year of my life pouring my soul into 400 pages of what is probably utter drivel. I have bled, cried and got finger blisters over this manuscript. So now….What am I meant to do now? It’s all over. The hard copy of the manuscript is sitting in the corner of my livingroom collecting dust whilst I try and be a good girl and not touch it…. LET ME EDIT, LET ME EDIT, LET ME EDIT.

Ok. Fine. I’ll behave. I guess I am not the sort of person who is able to… you know… rest, relax… do anything other than burn the candle at both ends and in the middle. So here, are my top tips for preventing insanity while you rest your manuscript.1. Bask in the glory of finishing your manuscript.

That’s right, sun your self people. Let the radiant heat of words typed at speed flow over you. You smashed it. I mean hello…? You just finished an ENORMOUS task. It’s a colossal achievement. Doesn’t matter if it’s your first book or your one hundred and first book. You did it. You just succeeded at a seriously difficult job. Too often we don’t celebrate. We’re not kind to ourselves and we don’t relish the fact we have smashed whatever task it is we have done. We hurry off to the next book, or competition entry or whatever else.

No. Stop that. Take note. Crack open the champers, or prosecco or dairy milk… you deserve it, you’re AWESOME.

2. Chillax

It’s an obvious one, and utterly impossible for me. I have to force relaxation on myself, usually by shutting myself in a dark cinema where I’m not allowed to do anything other than sit and quietly watch the film. Mrs. Black would rather visit a spa…

Whether it’s vegetating in front of a boxset or beasting yourself in the gym, you need to rest your mind. Especially if you want to get the best out of it when you start to edit.

3. Speak to your family and friends, be social (haha)

God I am terrible for this. I never do anything unless I am doing it 110%. Which means I’m selfish an horrible and throw myself into the world I am creating at that time. So Mrs. Black, gets a little neglected. Now is the time for me to get on my hands and needs and grovel…

It’s time to live life, take her to the theatre or that museum she’s been hanging on about, or just have a snuggle on the sofa in front of a film rather than cuddling my laptop all night. Why not call your friends, go for a pint, go clubbing or just catch up over dinner.

4. Start new projects

There’s lots of things that come under this:

Maybe you have always wanted to do a blog series. Or perhaps you have been wanting to enter some competitions. Maybe you want to write some short stories for a magazine. What about getting some cover art designed for your book. Even if you get traditionally published it’s nice to have the cover you want, besides you can use it to promote your book sooner rather than later. Or what about giving back, maybe you could beta read for someone else.

Whatever it is now is the time to start that new writing project. You need to rest your manuscript for a while, so you may as well try and complete some of those side projects you’ve been putting off.

Another shot of my manuscript which is now collecting dust... can I edit yet?

Another shot of my manuscript which is now collecting dust… can I edit yet?

5. Start book two

Are you writing a series? A trilogy? Or perhaps you have another completely different book you have been wanting to write. Nows the time. If you are resting your primary manuscript then the time is right to throw yourself into something completely new. If you are writing a series, then why not start the next one? It means the gap between publishing the first and second will be significantly shorter. If you don’t want to fill your head too much with a new book then why not just outline it? Or do some character prep for new characters. Or do some research and build a list of competitions to enter.

6. Life admin

Are there ever things you desperately need to do and never find time? Maybe its put that shelf up, or visit the post office, maybe you need to submit meter readings, go through that alarmingly large pile of post, or that draw where you shove everything you want to deal with later, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to buy a present for a friends new born… that’s now 6 months old!

I call this life admin. Those things that aren’t really urgent, but do need to be done. I tend to leave it until there’s so many things I need to do they clog my head and I have no choice. This is the perfect opportunity.

7. Read

As well as being a full time worker and a mum, I write and do the occasional set of nails for people, that’s all besides the upkeep of the house, trying to exercise when I can, trying to keep up with everyones blog posts and maintaining some kind of social life.

Reading, despite being one of my favourite past times gets put to the bottom of the list in favour of time spent writing. When I am mid flow on a manuscript instead of reading a few chapters a night I tend to only have time to read a few pages. I am painfully slow, so much so its annoying. So now is the time I focus on catching up on all those books I’ve been meaning to read…and leaving reviews too.

8. Do something different

This is everything else. Exercise is important, I tend to get a bit chunky when I write, giving time to the computer rather than the workout dvd. But why not try something different, take up rock climbing, or hill walking or go karting.

go travelling, or canoeing, or museum visiting. Whatever you do, get out the house, leave the laptop behind and live, before you know it it will be time to get your head back down behind the screen.

What are your top suggestions for me, whilst I rest my manuscript? What do you do? Let me know in the comments below.

 

71 comments

  1. 1.Write every day. Anything you do every day gets easier. If you’re insanely busy, make the amount that you write every day small (100 words? 250 words?) but do it every day.

    2.Write even when the mood isn’t right. You can’t tell if what you’re writing is good or bad while you’re writing it.

    3.Write when the book sucks and it isn’t going anywhere. Just keep writing. It doesn’t suck. Your conscious is having a panic attack because it doesn’t believe your subconscious knows what it’s doing.

    4.Stop in the middle of a sentence, leaving a rough edge for you to start from the next day — that way, you can write three or five words without being “creative” and before you know it, you’re writing.

    5.Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.

    1. Thanks so much for this, these are great tips. I’ve actually completed my manuscript – so this post is about what to do whilst I have some time off before I edit! But I agree – I should continue to write. Great tips 😊

    1. Haha, yeah that old chestnut! Family poor them putting up with me! Got a good family day lined up today for the bank holiday 😊😊.

      Guess I better get a new scrivener file out ready for book two! 😋 thanks Dylan 😊

    1. Yeah I feel your pain, I work full time too. But that’s an amazing target 1000 a day. Some days I do that, maybe more, others I struggle for 100 words :s but I couldn’t agree more the sentiment of routine and writing every day is one I whole heartedly agree with 😊

  2. I use my time in between books to… carry on working on my book! Not editing, but working with a cover designer, making a book trailer, finding beta readers, planning a book launch tour, working on the blurb etc all the things you cant concentrate on whilst actually writing it. It really helps distract me from wanting to edit, whilst focusing on the story, and of course its far less daunting having a marketing plan in place before you’re ready to launch. Good luck, this is such an exciting time!

    1. Thanks Ali, all great ideas, I may just have to do the designs, hadnt thought of beta readers but still need to get through another draft before that! omg book launch tours, deep breaths deep breaths!

      These are actually great ideas, I’m writing a list now!

  3. Get out and about, blow the cobwebs away and enjoy whatever we have left of our ‘summer.’ By the looks of it this means getting wrapped up in your waterproofs and splashing through the puddles! 🙂

  4. When I finished my first manuscript I knew there was potential for a follow up possibly a second book but I couldn’t face it so I left that and started something new, now I’m nearly finished the new book (a younger more humorous children’s novel), I’ve started to gently revisit that initial story via Rachael Richie’s Writing Blog Battle. It seems to be taking a strange, unexpected direction with a new main protagonist instead of being a YA, it seem to want to fit into a NA mould! You’re right finding the time to do the things you enjoy is so important, I have all these good intentions, to get fit is definitely one of those must do things on my list. Unfortunately up until now it hasn’t got any further than being on my list!

    1. Thanks Marje, not heard of that blog battle, so I will have to check it out. I like the NA genre, I think it will take over YA especially as youths today seem to be getting older and older anyway.

      1. The blog battle is great would recommend it. I’m contributing today. Yes you’re right about youths growing up quicker than they used to, and a lot of YA’s are touching upon quite hard hitting subjects.

  5. Be strong Sacha! You’ll be amazed at how differently you see your work when you go back to it in a few weeks or months time. It is definitely worth doing.

    I like Ali’s comment about planning all the other parts of writing a book – the promotion and design aspects, as those do take quite a bit of time to do.

    And in the meantime it sounds as though you have loads to do to keep yourself busy, and plenty of writing with your blog and maybe some other story ideas…

    🙂

      1. I ended up leaving my first MS for about two months because we were moving house and renovating, so it was kind of a forced break. And wow, when I got back to it I couldn’t believe how much editing I needed to do. But the key thing was that I still enjoyed the story, and it felt fresh again, instead of something I’d gone over endlessly. So that was a big lesson to me. I had been doing it to some extent with my freelance work, though usually I only have a few hours or a day to leave that before I have to submit – however it still made such a difference. But with such a large thing as a full length book I think you need to leave it much longer, as you may realise things about it that you hadn’t considered. Sorry for the essay, I do think this is such an important part of the writing process! 🙂

        1. What kind of freelance stuff do you do?

          That’s such good advice though. I wonder whether it is the time element that is vital or the mind rest. By that I mean if you worked on other stuff and have your mind space from the novel if it would have the same effect? Interesting point I might have to try both separately. I haven’t touched the first 50K since November so I think I’ll be safe to edit that and by the time I get to the last 40 hopefully it will be fresh. Although I plan on leaving it for a while longer anyway. 😊

          1. At the moment I do regular blog content for a materials handling company. But I’ve previously done magazine work, promotional and advertising copy and newsletter stuff – whatever comes along, really. If I wasn’t so busy writing all my own stuff I think I’d be pitching a lot more to magazines – but at the moment I just don’t have time 🙂 And yes, I find that even if I’m working on other things, my work looks fresh if I come back to it after a few weeks. So I think it’s time, rather than taking a break from writing.

  6. Love this! Am rudderless too! Letting second draft ‘rest’ is good but I feel like I am going insane. Venting on my blog. This week my blog posts are going to get very random.

          1. hehe, I’d be lying if I said there was none of me in it. There’s definitely aspects of my life pottered throughout, but I have tried not to do that too much! :p was the second draft easier or harder than the first?

          2. I really enjoyed the second draft, it got very intense at times and I had to have lots of lie downs in darkened rooms. By the end of the second draft it felt like something, a separate entity to me, very weird and a bit like after you have a baby. The third draft scares me because I am not sure I can handle the intensity!

  7. Write a post about what else to do so your MS can rest…
    No Wait…
    You already HAVE you clever girl…
    mmmm
    I Know…
    Write one (or more) exclusive article(s) for MY blog
    Topics open to you.
    Seriously Sacha 😀
    PRETTY PLEASE (with coatings of your choice on top…)
    😀

  8. I always continue writing. I usually work on short stories and things like that to shake it up a bit.
    I also like how you bound your manuscript. I usually put a clip on mine and stuff it in one of those 13-pocket accordion folders.

    1. I’m like you, I’ve continued writing, can’t stop! lol. But just different things. I sort of had no choice, it was 400 pages and about 2.5inches thick!! but I did print it single sided so i could read and write notes!

  9. I generally start something new in a totally different genre so I don’t get tempted to go back to the finished manuscript until it’s sat quietly for at least a fortnight!

  10. You know what? Just f******g edit it. You know there are no rules and that’s what you really want to do so do it. It won’t do any harm and you will edit it a few times before you’re satisfied so stop chewing your arse pick up that heap grab a coffee and a ton of pencils and go get it

    1. pahahaha, trust you to go against everything everyone else said, and your own advice! you know I may exaggerate a smidgen on here… I do want to edit, but I am being a good little patient girl… I doubt ill make it passed the end of sept though! *slyly reaches for sharpener…* :p

        1. Yeah until I realised I have a list of side projects I want to do the temptation was a bit much. But now I’ve got 5 comps I want to enter, a couple of guest posts to write, apparently I’m now writing a serial story too and well… I really ought to write some weekly wonders if nothing else to poke at you! 😉 x

          1. Lol nothing this week I’m afraid haven’t had time 😢 have to wait to next week besides I have so many story ideas from the first few posts I need to get them outlined before I forget them!

  11. Time to put on sunglasses (mole eyes from long indoor periods?) and go outside…and there is that talking to other inhabitants of the house …the ones who finally the hint and left you alone – “just a few minutes while I finish this part”…a part that went on for hours….
    A change of scenery, and moving around a bit is a good idea…then that sneaking closer, closer, closer to heed those tiny cries “edit me. edit me…”

    1. hahahaha, mole eyes!! I proper spat my drink out at that comment! I really do feel like that after some hard core writing sessions! and ohhhhh if only you knew the number of times I have said “i just need to finish…” lol its like your psychic!

  12. I’m nowhere near where you are in the Publishing challenge yet but if I was then I’d just want to carry on writing. I’ve so many different stories going on in my head at the moment that I must have enough there for another two collections of short stories. However, I would say do what you want to do. Do what your heart says, and definitely give Mrs Black some of that time you owe her while you wrote that first draft.

    1. God, I am no where in the publishing challenge either Hugh. That first draft is terrible, and we need to be ready for beta readers by March! the thought TERRIFIES me, especially given that I have to rest the manuscript! Will have to go at full pelt to get it ready in time!!

  13. Fab post Sach! Everything you’ve written, I’ve experienced. ..ok, maybe I don’t do nails, but I have mine done, does that count? LOL. Seriously, we get this invigorating feeling when we think we’re done with our MS and want to dive back into life and the neglected. Then publishing starts – book covers, edits, formats, researching questionable facts, etc. and the next thing you know, our reading remains limited to stolen hours and sometimes so does the writing. It’s like being on a constant treadmill. Like they say: Write Publish Repeat. 🙂

    1. Thanks Debbie. haha, well having your nails done is so important!

      sigh…. the publishing bit terrifies me! haha, love that phrase, I need a tshirt with it on!

      oh… and it looks like I AM going to vegas next year!

      1. Woohoo! If you’ve never been, you’ll love it. You have nothing to compare it to. 🙂 And publishing, well, let’s just say it’s a whole different beast to writing. Enjoy the ride! <3

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