It was late in 2010 and I had just sort of completed my first manuscript. I knew it was a mess and I couldn’t wait to jump in and fix the plotting, tense, voice, etc. My regular job pulled me away that weekend to Riverton, Wyoming for a class. When I came home a few days later, I brought back more than myself.
Yes, after saying no more dogs, how could I resist? She was born to a mama who was one day from getting put down in the shelter. Fortunately, she gave birth to a litter stopping her schedule demise the next day. All pups and mom were adopted.
Puppies have a short attention span. You have to watch them all the time. When I had an hour to write, she was ready to play. It was frustrating and also helped my story get better. Why? Because I had to let my story sit for long periods of time. I had become too attached to the words and could not look at them with a critical eye. This pulled me away for days, sometimes weeks and when I came back the story had some distance and I could do a much better job of rewriting.
Now that my little friend is a full grown adult, I still build in a week’s rest between drafts. You can do the same and you don’t even have to adopt a puppy to make it happen. Get a pair of fresh eyes yourself by detaching from the words you know too well. Doing so will allow your baby manuscript to grow up ready to face the world.