How to Give Your First Draft (and Yourself) a Break

You finish your first draft. You throw a party. You know there’s still a long way to go, but you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. And so, to keep the momentum going…

You rest.

How tempting is it to just jump right into the editing stage? As much as I’m a proponent of taking breaks, I felt this temptation hard this year after finishing NaNoWriMo. I used NaNo as an “excuse” to finish my WIP Project Pea, and since this is a story I’ve worked for years to perfect, my gut instinct was to immediately jump into editing.

But then I took a deep breath. I found a really great post about taking a break from your book (a post I’ll be sharing on Thursday!). I resolved to take a one-month break from Project Pea come December. And with this resolution, I realised that there are so many things you can do while you’re taking a break from your WIP. I think this list might help you, too.

1. Write another book

No, you’re not betraying your book baby by starting another story! And actually, this is a great time to jumpstart a new project. It gets your mind off of that untouchable first draft but keeps your imagination running.

2. Do some planning for your book

If you’re a pantser, especially, you’ll probably discover a lot of things you need to change as you’re writing your first draft. This break time is perfect to solidify those big details in your story before you get to editing and rewriting.

3. Set goals for editing

It’s always great to have a timeline in mind and goals to meet while you’re editing. Take your personal editing process into consideration as you work this out – you can divide the timeline up into drafts, or divide it into various stages of editing (developmental/rewriting, copy editing, proofreading).

Having these goals already set before you start the process of editing is one key aspect of staying motivated.

4. Enjoy life

Let yourself forget about your book for a while. Fiction is all well and good, but make sure to come back to reality for your sanity’s sake and do some cool stuff you’ve been dreaming about. It’s a wonderful life, and you don’t want to miss out on it.

What do you do while you’re taking a break from your WIP? Let me know in the comments!

Happy writing!

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


5 thoughts on “How to Give Your First Draft (and Yourself) a Break

  1. Writing another book is the only thing to do 😛

    Because honestly, staying in motion—even though a rest sounds much better—is much kinder to the writing mind, and there’s no need to reboot from a cold start. I gotta admit, I am one of those who can’t wait to get right to editing though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great process, and a good point! I usually find that I need a month of rest after finishing a big writing project (although I say “rest,” but I’m still writing stories for work 😂) so I have it worked out to where I’m always planning and editing some other stuff while I’m taking that break. I love hearing about the different processes! Thanks for the thoughtful comment! 😁


  2. Pingback: Reblog: 4 Reasons Why You MUST Wait Before Moving On Your Manuscript — A Writer’s Path | E.J. Robison

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