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The Time Between Writing and Revising

I recently finished the first draft of an upcoming Love Inspired novel. I’m happy with how the story developed, and I love the characters, but the book needs work. Instead of diving into revising, I always take several days (sometimes a few weeks) to let the story sit while I work on something else.

The time between writing and revising gives me insight.

While I’m not consciously trying to figure out plot holes and areas that need finessing, my brain is doing all that and more in the background.

For instance, I was trying to sleep when it hit me the way I handled one aspect of the story is unrealistic and will need to be changed. When I was brushing my teeth a few nights ago, I made a mental note to give their friendship more concrete signs of development early in the story. And as I microwaved a bowl of chili yesterday, I almost smacked my forehead for cutting one of the final scenes too soon and depriving the reader from an adorable moment.

Some books need less plot revision than others, and this one will end up on the heavier side. I’m okay with that. The goal for me is to put out the best book I can and give readers an enjoyable read.

My revising process takes several passes. I start with fixing plot issues, developing characters more fully, and dealing with timeline discrepancies. Then I move on to fine-tuning the actual words to make it flow. Finally, I polish the book and deal with any grammar mistakes.

I recommend the article, “How to Self-Edit: 10 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing” via Masterclass, for more tips on the revising process. Number 8, in particular, is true for me.

8. Embrace re-reading. Editing isn’t a one-off process, and chances are you’ll need multiple read-throughs in order to find all of your weak sentences, grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and spelling errors.


Do you leave time between writing and revising? Why or why not?

I’d love to hear your tips!

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Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

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