by Tim Kane
Far too many writers (me included) rush from the final draft to publication or submission. It makes no sense. At the time of completion, I know I’m giddy. Overloaded with the magnitude of what I have wrought with words and paper (the pretentiousness is intentional). In short, I have no objective view of my work.
The only way I can honestly view writing is with time. A vacation of sorts. You can’t pretend to take time off from your manuscript. You need to actively pursue other creative ventures. Often, while letting the novel cool off, I’ll work on short stories. Once I dropped myself fully into research mode for another novel.
Since I love to cook, here’s a metaphor that fits the situation. Steaks. If you watch even a fraction of the cooking shows I do, you’ll hear them talk about resting a steak. What is that anyway? I mean, the steak can’t be tired. It’s dead. And cooked. (Unless you’re like my wife and like the steak still walking and mooing.)
Turns out, that all the heat used to cook the steak, also forces those tasty juices toward the center. Resting, lets them redistribute through the steak. Typical folk (again like me) will chomp into the steak the second it leaves the pan. Mistake. It will be dry. And there’ll be a puddle of blood on your plate. Wait before you eat. It’s that simple.
Writers are the same. When the writer types “The End” he or she wants to show it to every agent, publisher in the industry. Or worse, pack it up and sell it as an ebook. Wait. Let the manuscript sit for at least a month. Two or three are better. I know that on a recent book, I had let it rest about six weeks. Made revisions. Then six months after that, I had a chance to work on it again. I could see more changes. Four to six months can make all the difference.