How long between drafts?

Jun 9, 2014 | Better Writing

How long should it rest?

I always advise clients to let their writing rest. ‘Fine,” one reader asked me, “Just how long do you suggest?

It depends

That’s the all-purpose answer to all writing questions and it applies here. The reason for rest is to let you look at your work with fresh eyes. You’ll be able to spot problems and inconsistencies. You’ll be able to channel emotion more effectively.

The answer will be different for a blog post or a book. Decide what you think will work for you. Here are some things to consider.

Reality – deadlines are deadlines

If you’re writing on deadline, then that stark reality will give you an idea of how much “rest” you can allow. If the deadline is self-imposed, remember that you set it, so you can move it.

Your comfort level when you read it

Cycle rest and revision until the piece feels right. That means it should make your point, tell your story, and read well out loud.

More emotion – longer time

If you’re writing something filled with strong emotion, make the rest time longer than usual.

Controversial subject – longer time

If you’re writing about something controversial, you’ll want to choose your words carefully. Make the rests a little longer. You may want to increase the number of revisions.

Newer material – longer time

If you’re writing about something new to you, it’s another good reason to extend rest time.

Bottom Line

Cycle rest and revision until your writing makes your point and reads well out loud.