Self-Publishing Tip #2 – Forget Your Book Exists

Okay. Easy now. No sudden movements. Step away from the manuscript…

There. That’s better. Now, hand me the pen…steady…there.

And, breathe.

Good job, writer! You just got a little bit of the distance you need from your characters. And it looks like I showed up to grab that red pen from your hands at the exact right moment; one more second and you may have red-lined your entire book.

Now, take another deep breath and realize that even though you followed tip #1 – write your book – there is no reason to continue working on it at the same feverish pace you just came from.

In fact…

It’s time to reconnect by disconnecting

Look outside (Yes, remember outside? I know it was a while ago now but there are things outside your house/Panera/the library/wherever you’ve been holed away getting your book down on the page).

See that bright shiny object in the sky? The cars moving past? The farm fields gently swaying in the breeze? The ocean waves rolling in?

Insert the thing that exists in your corner of the world *here* then go out to enjoy it.

Forget you just finished writing a book.

Celebrate making it to 'The End' because that shit is HUGE! But walk away for a while and let those characters (and yourself) breathe before you continue shaping them.

I’m not suggesting you walk away forever

But here’s where most writers fail – you can’t be objective when you’re too close to something and can’t see the flaws.

And trust me, your manuscript has flaws.

How can I say that?

Because we all write a first draft that’s a virtual abomination. I sure did! If I could bring myself to go back and read that draft it would probably make me question how I thought I could write books for a living. That first draft sucks.

But it only sucks in comparison to my finished book.

Which is why I had to take some time away from it before I started self-editing.

Self-editing comes before you send it off to a pro. That virtual abomination as I called it really shouldn't be seen by anyone other than you at this point in the process.

And if you write anything like I do you'll have all kinds of weird notes about scenes, character discrepancies, plot bunnies and big gaping missteps you'll want to spackle and sand before anyone else sees your attempt at a book.

Because even though the draft sucks, the story doesn’t. However, only you really know your characters at this point. Stepping away from them just gives you a better look at them when you get back from vacation.

So go, get outside, call your family back, cook something other than a microwave meal and inhale life again for at least a few days. You've earned it. You deserve to relax for a few minutes after all that hard work.

Your clearer and more objective mind will thank you when you get back because the next phase, self-editing, is a lot of hard work too. But that's where the fun really begins!

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