It’s been almost three weeks now that I’ve been keeping all of my manuscripts on hold. You may think it’s counterproductive and ridiculous. Writers write, after all. But hear me out: I have my baby-manuscript, FIREBIRD, out with several agents reading the full; that’s not counting partials, and I don’t want to make any changes until… well… you know, one of them decides we are meant to be.
General advice is to write your next book, while the first one on submissions, but I’m just making sketches in my notebooks for the sequel, allowing the excitement to build up and for the ideas to solidify. Nothing more than that.
I’m not wasting my time, though. I am doing the second most important thing every writer should focus on beside their own writing – I’m reading. I’ve swallowed five books since I hit the pause button on FIREBIRD’s world. I read a romance novel (One Day), a horror novel (Rosemary’s Baby), YA dystopia (Divergent), non-fiction (Omnivore’s Dilemma), and another YA (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children). Every book I read is a lesson in tension building, and romance development, and a tutorial on handling particular types of scenes: scary, funny, sensual. Every genre has its own treasures to offer, and I don’t always have the time pick up a book when I am engrossed in the writing process.
Most importantly, reading books between drafts gives me a healthy perspective on my own skill and a spoonful of humility.I pay attention to the things I like as a reader, and take note of things that I don’t. When I go back to my own writing, I will do my best to transfer the lessons I learned during my downtime.