Happy New Year, writer-peeps! Let us all do a dance of raucous joy for two reasons.

1) The shitstorm that was 2016 is behind us.

2) I have successfully completed a first draft of my angry, political, not-so-alternate near-future novel. It’s messy as hell right now but I feel pretty confident that it doesn’t suck.

Even though working on that book was thoroughly exhausting, all I want to do is dig back into it right this second and start cleaning up issues I’ve already thought of. But I’m not going to do that because a first draft is like a good steak. When it’s done, it needs to rest.

I don’t really like giving writerly advice to other writers so that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m writing this post to remind myself why I’m taking a break from this project.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: I just finished a thing! And love the thing! I want to go work more on the thing!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, calm down. Yes, your new thing is cool. But you need to walk away from it for a few weeks. Maybe longer.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: What? That is the silliest thing you’ve ever said. The world needs this thing yesterday so let’s go make it happen!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, no. You need to gain some distance before you can actually do the work you want to do. If you don’t, you’ll wind up like this guy…


And your book will wind up like his new pet…


SUPER-EXCITED-ME: I love that movie!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, you’re missing the point. If you try to edit your book right now, you won’t see half the issues you would if you looked at it a few weeks or a month from now. Time does strange, amazing things for your writer-brain.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: Okay, fine. I don’t want to kill my new pet with my overzealousness. But, ugh, what are we going to do for the next month?

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Ahem. May I present, five things you can do to avoid prematurely revising your new book.

1) Write a blog post. Oh, wait. You’re doing that now.

2) Read books. You have Labyrinth Lost waiting in your phone right now. Go read it.

3) Listen to all the music you missed last year because you were too busy doing book-stuff to care about music. (Seriously, if anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way).

4) Watch Good Behavior. The two MCs are kinda problematic but it’s so smart and funny and dark. Like a grimy female fantasy that’s way more interesting than Fifty Shades.

5) Start outlining a new book.

I’m not sure what that new book’s going to look like yet, but I’m letting a few ideas marinate at the moment. Here’s to a productive 2017.

2 thoughts on “A first draft is like a good steak…

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