How To Gain Perspective On Your Work

By on April 12, 2017
How To Gain Perspective From Your Book -Writer's

Often it can do authors the world of good to step back from their books and take a break from them before they decide the time is right to publish. Why? Because gaining perspective can help you to see where there are flaws in your book, and can also stop you from over editing and chopping it up so much that it becomes difficult to repair.

If you are too close to your work you will find it difficult to cut passages, story lines, and even characters when it is glaringly obvious that it is imperative that you do. Often if you can set your book aside for a while after you have finished it you can come back to it with a fresh perspective. You will have also gained useful distance from it meaning that you hopefully won’t be so attached, and can therefore be more practical and objective when it comes to editing.

If you read your book too many times you might find that you skim read or skip over chunks of your writing which can be dangerous when proof-reading. It’s so easy to become so familiar with something that you begin to read ahead before your brain has a chance to catch up! This means errors in spelling and grammar could be easily missed, and even inconsistencies or weak areas in the plot structure could end up being overlooked.

Editing takes time and can often feel overwhelming at first. If you have just completed the mammoth task of finishing your book going straight into the editing phase can be a mistake. You should take a while to celebrate the achievement of having written the end of your novel. Enjoy the euphoria and sense of pride that comes with that. If you immediately begin to rip it apart you could find yourself becoming disheartened and giving up altogether - which would be a great shame seeing as you are so close to meeting your goal! Revision, after all, is about revisiting something so it’s natural that there should be a gap between finishing a book and going into the revision stage.

Of course, sometimes trying to gain perspective from your book can be easier said than done. You’re impatient to get it out and published as soon as possible which can mean the idea of taking a break from your writing seems impossible. So how can you get some distance?

Revamp your writing space - if you’ve just finished writing a novel your writing space may well be where you feel you have been living for the past few months and be chaotic and disorganised. Now is a good time to revamp and reorganise it so when you do come to edit you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle this task head on.

Get out and see the world - spend time with family and friends - you know those people you’ve neglected while immersed in your novel, remember them?! Take long walks to clear your head, go on an adventure, travel somewhere new. Getting away from it all and having new experiences can be just the thing to get out of your writing bubble for a few days.

Read other books - reading is one of the most productive and useful things you can do as a writer. Use this time to devour as many books as you can - it’s the greatest form of research and inspiration you can get.

Get a second opinion and then a third. Let other people take your manuscript away and read through it. Getting feedback from people you trust to be constructive and fair will help give you fresh insight into your book that is totally invaluable.

Begin a new project. Just because you have finished writing your book doesn’t mean you have to stop writing altogether. Put your work aside, park it and begin on something entirely new. This way you’ll keep your creative juices flowing while still gaining perspective from your book.

Giving yourself some space post finishing your novel can work wonders and can help you to return to your work feeling confident, refreshed and ready to start the editing stage in order to make your book the very best it can be.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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