You must’ve seen this piece of advice before:

Once you finish writing, you should leave the manuscript for a month before you edit.

The first time I read it, I scratched my head, wondering, “Whatever for?”

The obvious answer is that it is better to edit your work with a fresh pair of eyes. And like most obvious answers, it is only partially true. The biggest value in stepping away from your work for a month is to develop healthy emotional detachment.

Caring too much is useful when you’re writing, but when you edit, it stands in your way.

Try this exercise: Open your manuscript at a random page, jab your finger at the screen. There’s a paragraph there. Can you select it and hit delete?

If your answer is anything else than a relaxed “sure,” you are still attached to your writing (as opposed to the story), and I just asked you to kill off a darling. This attachment will get in the way of making the story the best it deserves to be.

Maybe forgetting about it for a month isn’t such a bad idea?

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