So, by nature I’m an incredibly impatient person. Before my daughter was born I could be caught swearing up a storm over any inconvenience–nowadays my blasphemes are pretty PG, though still in existent–this quality in myself has been hard to quell when it comes to writing.
My first instinct when I’m done writing something is to immediately post it somewhere–either here or on my writing sites–or submit somewhere and move on. This however, is not the smartest move.
I’ve discovered that taking the time to let my writing sit and then going back and rereading it provides a great new perspective on what I’ve done. For a novel, after a draft I usually let it sit for a month–perhaps longer–before picking it up again. For flash fiction I may let it sit a few days to a week. For a query letter or synopsis I’ve let it sit for one to two weeks. I call this “letting it simmer”.
Letting your writing simmer allows your mind to break free from the world you’ve created. It lets you distance yourself and come back with a more dispassionate view. I know personally that I love what I write, and I’m passionate about my characters and what happens to them. What I need to remember is that a reader is coming in wholly unbiased. A reader needs to be pulled in and convinced that my characters are worth following and worth caring about.
By coming back to my own writing in a calm state of mind, I can add what is needed to complete a high drama or exciting scene. A scene in which I was perhaps caught up in and forgot to include “elements” which would further the storyline or the little tidbits that polishing off and rereading allows.
By letting your writing simmer you’ll also find more grammatical mistakes. You’ll smooth out sentence structure and delete extraneous wordage.
You’ve already poured your soul into your work, now take the time to polish it off so others can enjoy it.