My vacations are officially over. No more play time. I'm buried in edits.
Taking that break in between "first draft" and "revisions" reminded me of why it's so important to allow yourself some breathing room after you type THE END. You need that detachment.
After spending four months living and breathing this novel, I stepped away from it for three solid weeks. I didn't look at it once. Did I think about it? Of course. But what did I find myself doing when I had a few brief moments of boredom here and there while on vacay? Scribbling down notes about my next project.
By the time I sat down to work on my first pass of revisions, about a week ago, I'd become so detached from the characters and the story that I actually struggled a bit to get motivated enough to work on it. My brain was like, Wait a minute, I thought we were done with this. We're not? Well... what do we have to do to be done, because I want to be done!
Once I really got going on revisions, though, it became much more pleasant. I remembered my original vision for the piece. I remembered why I started this book in the first place. I remembered the point of my story. I remembered what I loved so much about my characters and their journey. And since I'd had some time away, when I came back to it I saw it as a whole, instead of dots that needed connecting.
Distance allows you to see the whole book and pinpoint areas that need adjustments. It allows you to be objective about your own work. In my experience, this makes your revision phase much more effective than if you jump right in like an eager beaver. The length of your break is entirely dependent on you as an individual, and the individual needs of the project. Whether it be a week, a month, a year... that's up to you, and no one can tell you you're wrong for whatever time you choose.
So my question today is, How long do you break after typing THE END? And what benefits have you noticed from doing so?