Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now...

Remember the song?

I was a teenager when the song by Johnny Nash (not to be confused with Johnny Cash) was popular. But this morning it struck me that editing is a bit like the song...

When do you see the clearest when it comes to your work? Is it right after you've written it, or later, after your manuscript has had a chance to sit for a bit?

When the clouds part what do you see?

The best pre-editing job I ever did was allowing a manuscript sit for over a year. No kidding. It was amazing! When I finally went back to it with fresh eyes I noticed so much!

Now, I'm not recommending letting every manuscript sit for that length of time, but I am suggesting that you let it sit. Not for just a week or two, but for at least a month, when you've had some time away from it and probably won't remember every carefully written phrase or scene.

Seeing clearly cannot happen so readily when we've just finished the first draft of our book (and everything appears beautiful). It can't happen when we're so glued in, that everything appears 'perfect.' Seeing clearly, really seeing often needs distance to take in the beauty that otherwise would be lost because we're standing too close to it.

Imagine the Grand Canyon without the distance needed to see the height and depth and breadth of it and you'll understand why taking some time away from your work before going back to it will help you see clearly. With the rain gone, and the clouds no longer blocking the view of the sun, you will truly have something to look at.  

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