The Importance of Letting Your Writing Marinate

Okay so you are probably thinking that I’ve gone a little crazy right? I mean how are you supposed to let your writing marinate? Just let me take a moment to explain. It will all make sense I promise!

I guess I should start off by saying that the marinating usually comes after you’ve completed a story, although it can be useful in moments of hard cord writer’s block.

So you have just finished writing a story! It could be short, novella length, or even a nice novel. The first thing you want to do is start editing, right?

WRONG!

You need to let your writing marinate. And by marinate, you need to close that document or that notebook and forget about it. Completely. Don’t even think about going back and reading it. You need to let it sit for a good long while. Now the time differs for everyone and depends on the length of the story. Shorter pieces don’t need to marinate for as long as novels do.

The reason this is so important is you need to edit with fresh eyes. Not with the brain who has become so immersed in your characters and their world. Letting it sit allows you to be able to look at it with a critical eye. You’ve pulled yourself back, and now you are able to go back and make changes you would have resisted making had you gone back right away.

You need that time also to decompress and give your mind a chance to work on something else. You’ve finished something, and now you can start something new.

Your story has finished marinating when you feel you can go back and look at it with a critical eye. It is also important that you don’t wait too long. If you do, you’re going to lose the drive to go back at all. It’s something I’ve really struggled with. Editing is a daunting task but so very necessary.

So what do you other writers think? Do you let your stories marinate?

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