Like on Wednesday, today’s article is a guest post! Kellyn Roth just launched her organization Reveries Co., which is a place for indie authors to find cover design, editing, blog tour hosting, interior formatting, web design, etc. There’s more information after the post, so be sure to stick around and check it out!
Many thanks to Kellyn for this post!
Finishing the first draft of your novel is exhilarating! Oftentimes when I finish my first drafts, I don’t want to put them down. I just want to keep working on them.
However, as you’ve no doubt heard, most professionals recommend taking a break after you finish draft one before diving into rewrites or revisions.
Now, this may seem like a bad idea. When you’re excited about the story, shouldn’t you keep working on it? What if you fervor dies? What if you can’t remember what all was going on when you return to it?
These are all valid concerns. However, it is vital for writers to take at least a brief break.
How long should this break be? At least two weeks is the recommended length; most say a month or two. On my bigger projects, I sometimes need to take four or five months before I can return to it with any clarity, but that’s just me.
So, really, the length of the break is entirely up to you—and entirely individualistic. But the need for the break exists in every writer’s heart.
Why is this?
Writing a novel is a lengthy endeavor. I know authors who can finish a full-length novels in two weeks (and I can do it in four if I really push myself), but whether it takes you fourteen days or three hundred, it’s exhausting.
Your brain is dead.
Your fingers are exhausted from all that typing.
You’ve forgotten what sunshine looks like.
And, of course, you’re tired of your novel.
But wait! say you. I’m not tired of my novel! I love my novel. I want to keep working on it!
I love my novel when I finish it about 80% of the time, too. Which is the second reason one should always take a break.
You see, revisions (and all editing, really) takes a certain amount of harshness on the author’s part. You’ve heard the phrase “kill your darlings.” This must be true of every successful writer.
Though it hurts not a thing to skim-read through your novel and pick out typos or simply remember fondly every fun twist of phrase and death scene you wrote, starting your revisions before you’ve given yourself some time to step back and see beyond that beautiful piece of writing you just finished will do you no good whatsoever.
So wait. Start your revisions about a suitable break. You won’t regret it.
But what should you do while you’re on break?
Find motivation, and bottle it up for later, of course!
Inhale fiction (movies and books alike, but especially books).
Gather even more ideas or tiny details you might wanna twist or tweak and add in your draft later. Let yourself make notes—but don’t you touch that draft!
Don’t let the flame die out, exactly. You don’t want to lose your work ethic or your inspiration. You’re taking a rest, but you can choose whether this should be a complete rest (which you totally deserve) or a rest punctuated by other writing projects.
Sometimes I find that editing a former novel is the perfect way to take a break from the first draft of the one you just finished.
Remember, no matter how talented you are or how much you enjoy writing, you will eventually get burn-out. Sometimes it’s good to set aside all thoughts of writing. Whatever works for you is the right way; there is no hard and fast rule. But definitely experiment before you get yourself set on one course.
In the end, we writers often push too hard. But what matters is we are dedicated to the craft—and a few weeks of rest aren’t going to kill us. In fact, it’s proven that rest helps us work better.
What if I lose my edge?
You have inspiration right now, and you’re deathly afraid of losing it. What do you do?
Well, the answer is simple. Don’t turn off the heat. Just put it on simmer.
But simmer I mean no more writing, no launching into revisions or rewrites—but just because you’re not boiling doesn’t mean the story isn’t still cooking in your head!
Let yourself think about your story, let it roll over in your mind, without actually looking at it. The “simmer method” won’t let your inspiration die, but neither will it exhaust you.
If you’re brave enough, try alpha readers!
Alpha readers are, simply, the first people who get to take a look at your book, oftentimes in the first or second draft. I personally do a bit of a polish first, but a lot of people don’t.
Find some people who are willing to offer some very gentle, constructive criticism. That means they won’t be picking apart all your awful, awkward sentences or whining over your typos. No, alphas are for big-picture edits—and, most of all, for encouragement.
So, ask a few trusted writerly friends to take a peek at your first draft. Ask them not to pay attention to the writing—explain that it’s very much a first draft. Ask them to be kind and gentle. You don’t want them tearing down your confidence!
But you will get some needed thoughts on plot, characters, and other big-picture elements of your book. Ask for them to let you know, for instance, who their favorite character was or what plot twist really surprised them!
Not only will it get you excited about your story—and let’s be honest, we’re not always excited after the grueling work of writing the first draft!—but it’ll also give you the knowledge you need to move forward into draft 2!
Don’t edit draft 1, though!
This probably sounds insane, but I never edit draft 1!
*everyone in the room gasps*
No, I’m serious. I don’t.
You see, draft 1 is the outpouring of my creative mind. So I just … leave it be. I don’t even fix typos. Those are part of my creativity, after all, aren’t they?
In all seriousness, I don’t edit draft 1 … but I do edit draft 2! The first thing I do when I commit to revisions/rewrites is make a copy of my draft 1 document and rename it “Title, Draft 2.”
This way I still have a copy of my horrid, creative draft 1 … and I have a fresh start. The fresh start is the most important thing.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I feel it gives me a new perspective. New document, new draft, new story! It’s a mental trick, sort of like how 2019 is no different than 2018, but we still think that something magical has changed between December 31st and January 1st.
How do you know when you are ready?
This is a personal decision you’ll need to make. There’s no rule here! Do some soul-searching.
Are you still exhausted?
Are you excited for the book again?
Do you want to? What are your instincts telling you?
Is it self-doubt or legitimate concern for your mental health that’s keeping you from moving into draft 2?
In the end, only you can decide when you’re ready to begin the revisions.
About Reveries Co.
On September 8th 2018, Kellyn Roth was designing a site for her cover design business. As she drag-and-dropped the elements around, she realized she needed a shiny, flashy tagline. So she started thinking about her goals as a service provider.
As she puts it:
“I wanted to help authors like me succeed! I wanted to make sure that every writer got the best services, personalized to their needs, at the best prices.”
Unfortunately, she didn’t have the expertise she needed to offer a one-stop-shop for authors, bloggers, and other entrepreneurs who needed those services but couldn’t afford them, couldn’t find the right providers, or even struggled to know what they needed.
So Kellyn began planning, and…
Reveries Co. Was Born!
Now over fifteen service providers have joined Reveries Co.’s forces, from seasoned professionals like Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, and Abigayle Claire, to up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Charis Rae, Jessie Bingham, and Michaela Bush.
Reveries Co. is dedicated to providing quality, personalized services for affordable prices. Their #1 goal is seeing you succeed in your writing endeavors. They even offer services such as consulting to give you the knowledge you need to move forward!
To quote Kellyn again:
I firmly believe that with hard work and a little elbow grease, anyone can develop a career and business in the writing field. However, I acknowledge that we all need some help from time to time. We’re here to offer that help quickly and easily.”
The Reveries team is a carefully selected team of experienced designers, editors, proofreaders, etc., several of whom are authors themselves. Most of them have multiple years of experience and all have proven themselves to be consistent and trustworthy workers who offer quality services.
All service providers are held to a consistent standard of operation and output. They’re a team, and they function as one, helping each other succeed just as they do the authors they serve.
Now for information about the tour, discounts, etc.!
First off, the giveaway! This giant book bundle includes books by Kellyn herself, as well as by Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, Rebekah Morris, Kendra E. Ardnek, and others.
The official Facebook launch party is TODAY from 12 PM to 3 PM PST.
Kellyn will be hosting a live video and taking our questions, assuming the internet cooperates, and there will be several giveaways, service provider spotlights, and other fun features.
During this party, they’ll also be offering a bunch of exclusive discounts and giveaways, so be sure to check in then!
Throughout the tour, Reveries Co. is offering exclusive discounts. Everything from editing to book cover design to consulting has an extreme cut taken out of the price… but they only have a limited number of spaces available.
These discounts include anything from 15% to 30% off a number of services – from editing, to interior formatting, to book cover design, to website design! They even offer specialized coaching packages!
Be sure to check out the other amazing posts from this week’s blog tour!
Tuesday, January 1st
Interview with Founder // Kendra E. Ardnek @ Knitted by God’s Plan
Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ
Announcement from Founder // Lila Diller @ Creating Romance
Wednesday, January 2nd
Announcement // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Spotlight // Mukta A @ Born Free
Interview with the Co-Manager // Jo A @ The Lens & the Hard Drive
Announcement from Founder // A. Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Guest Post from Founder // Emily Yager
Interview with Founder // Dawn Dagger
Announcement from Founder // Eva-Joy @ Coffee, Classics, and Craziness
Thursday, January 3rd
Interview with Co-Manager // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing
Spotlight // Jessica Greyson
Interview with Founder // Parker Hankins @ Pencils and Pianos
Guest Post by Founder // Merie Shen @ Imperial Scribis
Announcement from Founder // Jana T. @ Reveries From the Stacks
Announcement from Founder // Hanne T. @ Losing The Busyness
Friday, January 4th
Announcement from Founder // Deborah @ Reading on the Edge
Announcement from Founder // Katherine Brown Books
Guest Post from Founder // Julia Witmer
Announcement from Founder // Jessie Bingham
Spotlight // Loretta @ Just Writing
Interview with Co-Manager // Isabel Olivetti @ Chasing Fantasia
Saturday, January 5th
Spotlight // Abigayle Claire @ The Left-Handed Typist
Spotlight // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura
Announcement from Founder // Faith Blum @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Guest Post from Founder // R.M. Archer @ Scribes & Archers
Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries