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When NOT to Read a Polished Manuscript

Andrea at MiG Writers made a very good point in yesterdays blog. However proud you are of a finished, polished novel you've written, refrain from reading it when you're working on a new first draft.

Makes sense, right? Why read a great piece of your own work when you're just getting the idea of a new one out? Its rough, basic, and not anywhere near the great writing you're capable of. So why taunt yourself with a finished work? It's likely you (and I) would see this fabulous writing and look at the new WIP, and go, "This first one was a fluke, I'm no good." I know I would give up.

But I think this thinking is so obvious, many wouldn't actually think it. Granted, it could be a great motivation to get through the next WIP, but it also has the equal potential to bring you down. Be careful about the decision to reread a finished manuscript of your own writing, and be honest with yourself about the effect it may have on you, and your current work. If the answer is truthful, and you are confident in it, then follow the course you choose.


  1. Andrea says:

    Brittany, you're so right about having to be careful and think about what might influence your writing - whether it's your own writing or something else you read.

    I am constantly reminding myself that a first draft is just a draft, it doesn't have to be perfect, it's for messing around with ideas. Even then, it can be easy to get discouraged. Writing is hard enough without setting too a high a standard for a first draft!

  2. Andrea, thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my commentary blog.

    I get so concerned about outside influences, I won't read anything from my genre until I'm close to finishing my second or third draft. My current WIP was woven together from about four different major writers, all of whom were made into movies. I won't watch or read them, so the delicate balance in my own story won't be tipped in favor of another. Its one of the reasons I write longhand, so as not to be tempted to look them up on the interwebz.

    Also, I really am just scared of looking at those and thinking, "Golly, I can never get near those authors abilities." So I wait.

    Thanks again for stopping by!


  3. good point- I couldn't see a reason to read a finished manuscript unless you were writing a sequal, and fact checking. There comes a time when you have to let go of the old project, and focus on the new one.

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