Revisiting an Old Draft – 10 Writer Reactions #writers #amwriting

Revisiting an Old Draft - 10 Writer Reactions


Photo Credit: Pixabay

You return to your unfinished manuscript. It’s been weeks or months since you last touched it.

There were good reasons why you had time apart from it, you…

  • Wanted to let it stew in its creative juices
  • Gave up on it after a creative strop / emotional breakdown
  • Grew weary with it #storyfatigue
  • Were unable to climb out of a major plot hole
  • Found life got in the way (it happens)
  • Got to the point where you hated it
  • Got distracted by something else (it happens)
  • Became more interested in short stories
  • Got lazy
  • Questioned your ability to write

As you start to read and reacquaint yourself with your old unfinished manuscript you may find yourself having one or more of the following reactions:

1. Taking sharp intakes of breaths as you read.

2. Assuming the Cringing Writer Face – screw up eyes and hold page as far away as possible from you…

3. After reading a few pages shaking head in disbelief at the sheer randomness of your tale – cue ask a loved one “was I ok….mentally…a couple of months ago, when I wrote this?”

4. Smile followed by an air punch and maybe a “yea baby!” and  get out of chair to dance – you are amazing and your manuscript rocks!

5. Loud sigh and reach out for red pen to mark up the typos. You can’t casually revisit something and just ignore typos.

6. Place your head in your hands after a few pages and start to wail as you realise the next draft is going to require some radical changes.

7. “Oooooh” sound – like, like, like, like! Cue the thought “why did I stop writing this best seller?”

8. “Ugh!” sound -hate, hate, hate, hate! Cue the thought “I am so glad I didn’t take this literary tripe any further”

9.  Mutter to yourself “I am feeling desperate right now – surely things must improve after 40,000 words?

10. Smile, sigh and say “I’m back!” in a happy and contented voice. You made the right decision to leave it for a while. Yes – there is still work to do but things feel good.


Hang in there writers, love your unfinished manuscripts



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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

41 thoughts on “Revisiting an Old Draft – 10 Writer Reactions #writers #amwriting

  1. Totally true! Manuscripts always improve when revisited after time in the proverbial drawer. Often the reasons why things stalled have passed. But even if a writer is happy with something, ‘drawer time’ always pays dividends. Kind of the inverse of what happens to fresh salad, but definitely akin to the way a fine vintage wine evolves with time. :- )

      1. Well, I certainly hope so. I am not an expert on this genre but I think I am learning how to build a romantic tense and lovely moment with passionate kisses and longing that isnt contrived and the cause of an eye roll. The story is pg-13 as it will be Clean Read Romance, but even CR’s can have the need for fans.

      2. I do agree. They are like Michael Franks love songs. If you are not familiar with Michael Franks I will have to recommend some of his tracks to you. The way he speaks about romance and the pictures he paints with words are AMAZING!

  2. Oh so true. Sometimes I go through all those reactions in one manuscript. Several times. Then I just hope that in the end there have been more positive than negative parts.

  3. My cake tin is always well-stocked up. I don’t know how writers get by without such wonderful comfort food.
    I don’t know if you’ll find this reassuring or not (as getting a novel right can take an extremely long time), but I’m revising a novel that I first wrote 20 years ago, but I will stop there, as I might just have struck upon an idea for my promised guest post… Bear with me, the writerly birth pangs are coming on 😉

  4. And those are exactly the reasons why I never revisit old stuff. Actually, I did last week. . . .I think. . . .During a dry spell. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote them. The core concepts might have come to mind after a few lines, but the rest of it—No clue. It was just baffling.

    Not to mention, chock full of errors. Super Cringe Worthy. As in, it is an apparent superpower of mine. I usually have to put it down after a paragraph, two at most.

      1. I often think that when I read people’s manuscripts. “Were you off of medication you require daily when you wrote this?” Though I’ve NEVER said it. I’m also appalled by the spelling errors for the most basic words. That’s always scary to me. Who forgets how to spell the days of the week?!

        I’d relocate all cheese to proper climes. LOL.

      2. If ever you wanted me to beta read for you, I’d be supremely honest. And as a friend, I’d NEVER write about it, ’cause that’s unacceptably classless.

      3. Wow I would really appreciate that and your honesty. I will be in touch once current draft completed. Thx – means a lot to me as you are someone in blogging / writing land who I really respect 🙂

      4. I wouldn’t have offered if it wasn’t genuine. I’m honest, but fair. I can include notes if it will make it easier for you to see issues, etc. I also tell you exactly what works.

      5. 🙂 That’s okay, I need to start getting my butt to bed. I just haven’t been able to shake this migraine, and I had a client attempting a poor argument for several hours over one line that I said needed to be cut. I swear, she made it worse.

  5. Been there done that with all of these. Well, aside from asking someone if I was okay mentally a few months ago. I would get a definitive “no”. 🙂 Writing or not.

  6. I need that cake! Oh yeah, get out the red marker, delete button, etc and edit away! I look at my stuff like “Why did I write that?” Edit. Delete.
    Btw, did you get to read my latest BlogBattle story? 🙂

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