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The Gift of Distance

a-howard-the-gift-of-distanceby Ana Howard | Book Editing Associates

Resist the urge to rush. Most professionals will tell you the best thing you can do is step back and give yourself the gift of distance. Time away from your own writing is actually a good thing. It takes between one and three months to let go of your personal attachment and achieve any kind of perspective and objectivity. Of course, it’s impossible to read your manuscript again as a new, fresh reader would, but time away will help you see if you still have more work to do. The same is true after revising. Often editors see authors fly through the revision process without taking the time to put some distance between themselves and the writing. After any significant revising, take some time off before you read and self-edit the manuscript again.

So what to do while waiting? The easy answer is to live your life. Read good books, travel, rest, spend time with friends. Engage in living. And when you have given yourself distance, go back to the book. When you feel the book is the best it can be, hire a professional editor for an objective assessment and guidance.

Ana Howard specializes in fiction for adults, young adults, and children.


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