IWSG 84: A Change is as Good as a Rest


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



J Lenni Dorner | Sarah FosterNatalie Aguirre | Lee Lowery | Rachna Chhabria


For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Answer to question one: It depends.

I have a few questions too: What if finishing your story amps you up? What do you do then?Well, I suggest writing something new to help you break free from your old story. Make it a short one.

I love writing shorts. I can revise over a weekend. There is so much freedom with something you can read in an afternoon. Feedback is easier to get too.

Once you finish it, you’ll be more than ready for your revisions.

Answer to question two: Experience allows me to see my writing growth. I get a little better.

Some more wisdom is that we should remind ourselves that we succeeded. Accomplished something only a few of the 7.9 billion humans on Earth are capable of doing.

Revising will be harder than getting our first draft down. No one likes the truth when it hurts. If you land up just rephrasing what you already have then, it’s done.

Or, and this sucks, it’s time to drop it in a drawer and forget about it.

Let your beta readers tell you where it stands and move on to the next masterpiece waiting to be captured.

What about you? Do you start something new right away or do you distract yourself with another hobby?


On several occasions I tried to return the comment and was rejected. I don’t know why, but I’d like you to know I return all comments when I can. Sorry if I missed you.


68 responses to “IWSG 84: A Change is as Good as a Rest

  1. Hi,
    Writing shorts stories or Flash fiction is a good way to break the chain and get your mind on something else. I love writing shorts and usually write in the WEP and other contests. I even write shorts when I get stuck in a story and I am not sure of the direction that I want to go in.
    Have a lovely month of June.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  2. I don’t start something new, but other people have also said they do. I think it’d be easier to do if I wrote short things too like you.

  3. I had that drop it in a drawer moment recently. Sigh.

    • Me too and funny enough sometimes I wonder if I gave up too soon. I really need to take a selfie when I’ve hit my limit. The frazzled hair and crazy look in my eye would easily remind me to keep moving forward. 🙂

  4. I am like Mark Twain who had at least two novels going at the same time. By the time he had finished one, an idea for another one would have occurred to him. Researching for one of them usually gives me an idea for a third … if hurricanes, Covid-19, and other disasters allow me the opportunity!

  5. I like working on multiple stories at the same time. I really love it when I finally finish one project and take it out of the mix. That means I can start something new!

  6. Sometimes I start on something new, sometimes it another distraction, and sometimes I pull out an old manuscript and see if there’s anything worth polishing. It depends on how burnt out I feel from the draft I’m shelving.

  7. I love working on shorter works because it’s nice to get some gratification a bit faster than when working on a novel.

  8. I usually write articles for my newspaper in between fiction projects. It’s so different, it imbues one with a fresh perspective.

  9. I work on multiple stories. The goal is to have one written, one under revision, writing on one, and planning another. Plus various stories and anthologies things.

    • I’m going to just sit in the shade, lean back on this lovely tree here and think of how exhausting that would be. I’m the same chick that burned out doing NaNo one year and have never gone back.

      I’ll own it. I’m a wimp. hehehe

  10. I like to rotate through my projects to give my subconscious time figure out the answers 🙂

  11. I’ve got a “it sucks, time to drop it in a drawer” project. Actually, I shoved it in a closet. No worries though, I’m already working on something I like better!

  12. I generally start something new but this last ms took me so long I think I’ll rest for a bit. Hi Anna. Happy IWSG day.

  13. I think it depends, as well. Sometimes you want to get right into revising that project but sometimes you need a break from it.

  14. I always let my reviews sit until the night before publication and then re-read/tweak it. No editor so I miss mistakes, but smooth out the thoughts and sentences.

  15. alexjcavanaugh

    Nope, I dive right back into the beginning, which I have totally forgotten by the end.

  16. Love your amped up characters hehe. Good idea to start another project before editing the first one.

  17. I love the idea of writing something short in between. Sort of a palate cleanser.@samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  18. Yes, shorts are definitely great fun!

    Shannon @ The Warrior Muse (thewarriormuse [dot] com)

  19. Hello! There are so many things I’m going to take home from here. I like the idea of doing a short piece in between.

  20. I don’t start something new on purpose. It just happens sometimes. Can’t seem to help myself when a new story idea takes hold of my imagination. As for the “it sucks, drop it in a drawer and forget about it,” been there and wrote and done that.

  21. Good advice to start on a new writing project while shelving. I tend to move onto other projects – be they creative or day job related – which probably doesn’t help me stay in “writing” mode. I’ll give this a try – thank you.

  22. I was just writing in my post that I used to have to revise immediately. I’m really hoping that by letting the work have a time-out this time round that the editing will actually be easier.
    And I have to say, Anna, that I don’t agree with the editing being hard and the writing being easy – I find it the opposite – the writing is a challenge and the editing is a ton of fun!

  23. Loni Townsend

    If I know where the issues exist, I can’t leave it until it’s fixed. If I’m feeling pretty good about it, I’ll let it sit and come back to it later. It’s strange. I don’t think of myself as a short story writer, yet I have more short stories written than I do big books!

  24. I agree — it depends. 🙂

  25. I really think that writing the first draft of a story or book is the easiest part of the entire book publishing process. Editing and cutting (killing your darlings) is difficult. Luckily, I enjoy both the writing and the editing process. I don’t even mind the promoting part too much. What gets me is the time needed to complete a book – from beginning to finish. Yeah… it takes too long to do it again. 🙂

  26. I was pretty much forced to keep working on the same story for a couple of years in order to have something ready for my two critique groups. I hope to be able to mix it up a little more when I work on my next story.

  27. I too, love writing short pieces. They are such fun to write. They actually get my adrenaline moving.
    I wonder if I’ll ever write a novel? I mean, like a long, long one… 85,000 words…? It would have to be done in short chapters. *shrugs*

  28. I do think that writing something new and short after a longer work is a good idea. I always do that before I think about editing.

  29. I’ve just sent my ms to beta readers and I am hoping they’ll be honest and provide constructive feedback. I also agree that editing gets harder the more books you’ve written. I always my inner voice telling me it has to be better than the previous book.

  30. I have dozens of starts and fits, though I’m too much of a procrastinator to turn any of them (with a handful of exceptions) into complete shorts or flashes. Some day…

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