Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June: How long do you rest/shelve a rough draft? and What I've Learned from Podcasting


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the co-hosts this month: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?


I've always believed resting the rough draft of a novel was an important step in the writing process. I rested every single one of my books between rough and second drafts, until last year when I took Liftoff from rough to second to third to edited and revised drafts in several months. 

My critique group, beta readers, and my editor all helped me polish it and make it a decent read. It never had a full rest, because even when it was in the hands of my editor, I was thinking about it.

I believe that the project itself, or the writer's relationship with that project, determines how long the draft needs to be shelved. I still have many shelved drafts. MANY. 

But then, there are short projects that I've written and sent out into the world without any rest at all. Those projects are sometimes just as successful, or sometimes more successful than the ones I "rested" between drafts because sometimes (often), I revise things into a corner. I did this recently with book 2, cutting so much that the third draft didn't make as much sense, which meant I had to put stuff back in. 

And that leads me to...


In January, my church started creating podcasts. First, our two pastors did the majority of them, and then they invited a group of people to help. I was one of those people. I had never created a podcast before. Most of the ones I created at the beginning were recorded on my phone, or my old laptop with malfunctioning speakers...neither of which were ideal. 

On the podcast schedule, I created and recorded a podcast once every eight days, February through May, as my church put out the podcasts five days a week. This schedule didn't give me a lot of time for "revision." I researched the set of Bible verses I was given, reading them, reading commentaries, delving into word studies and cross-referencing the verses. Or, at least that's what I did for most of them.

At one point, I had forgotten to record my podcast until 10:30 the night before the podcast was supposed to air. I had read the verses earlier in the week. But I read them again twice, prayed, and recorded. I deleted that first recording because I sounded like I was falling asleep, wrote down some hasty notes, made myself jump up and down a few times to wake up, recorded it again, and then sent it to my pastors. 

From the feedback I received from listeners, the podcast I created last minute was just as good as the ones I spent hours working over, recording multiple takes, and micro-managing my words/phrasings.

What I learned from this podcasting experience:

  • Deadlines work.
  • Work I dawdled over was not any better than work I created in a short, intense burst.
  • Having good tools/tech is helpful, but it is possible to work with less and still do a good job.
  • Scheduling helps (see deadlines above).
  • Short bursts of writing/recording/speaking work for me.
  • Authenticity in a podcast is just as important as "professionalism" especially when one is sharing an experience, or faith-based thought. 
  • I really like podcasting, even if I still haven't added in any sound effect frills yet.
If you are interested, have time, or like podcasts, check out One Hope Church's One Hundred Essential Bible Readings HERE

Other News and Notes:

The IWSG Science Fiction Anthology from our contest last year Dark Matter: Artificial is out! 

If you don't have a copy, I highly recommended getting one and reading it. The stories in here are really fun reads!

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Website - IWSG Anthologies

Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies / Space Exploration / Genetic Engineering
Print ISBN 9781939844828
EBook ISBN 9781939844835

Print and eBook:
Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Nobel

And, next up, the IWSG Annual Anthology Contest for 2021 

Please see the site and the publisher's website for details and guidelines. Write your best. Get some feedback. Send it in. 

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted: 
May 7 - September 1, 2021

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Plus, as a reward for some finished writing, I had some fun and created a wall calendar for writers. If you're interested in an 18-month calendar with quotes from sixteen different authors, literary dates and celebrations (Ex: US National Library Month and AA Milne's Birthday), from July 2021-December 2022, check it out here: Write On! ( 

Although I initially created it for me, I thought a few more people might like it, so if you're looking for an 18-month calendar, please feel welcome to purchase one. My favorite page I created is this one:

I created most of the images via although I did include some of my own photography, too. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Deadlines work - they sure do! Glad you got that podcast done in time.

Patricia said...

I have so many shelved drafts. Some I'd like to get back to. They've definitely sat long enough!

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting points! Those inspired bursts of intense work are often some of my best, too. I'm going to have to think about how to utilize that more efficiently!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Yeah, the time I 'shelve' a manuscript changes depending on the work itself. But mostly, I do put at least a few weeks between me and the novel. Great job on the podcast!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's a great approach to waiting to revise to do what you feel the project requires. And it's an awesome skill to learn how to do a podcast.

Jenni said...

Interesting that you found it didn't make much difference whether you waited on those shorter works. And you found that even podcasts done last minute are well received. It seems like we're not the best judge of our own work. We think that usually means that we miss our mistakes, but I think it also means we miss when our work will resonate.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - deadlines work when I actually have them on my calendar...otherwise, they swooosh by...

Patricia - I know how you feel about shelved drafts. So many good ideas, so little time.

Jemi - I need to figure out how to use what I've learned about this, too.

SA - Thanks!

Natalie - For me, it seemed like podcasting was far easier than any other kind of public speaking I've done. It's talking into a mic, and you can change it if you need to (unless it's live).

Jenni- I think sometimes I over-revise, or overthink, which makes those projects I finish faster more full of their original life's blood.

Liza said...

I don’t think I would dare record a podcast. Good for you!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Deadlines do work, unless I'm the one setting the deadline. I'm way too nice a boss and let myself get away with being the hugest slacker!

I did a couple of podcasts as the guest and I did enjoy it!

Juneta key said...

Loved your lessons learned list. I love the calendar page too. Happy IWSG!

Lee Lowery said...

Deadlines always motivate me - they bring out the responsible adult I keep shove away in a closet.

Kudos on the podcast. That is waaaaay beyond my technical capabilities. I can't even do a decent video on my cell phone.

Love the Neil Gaiman quote. I've taken that philosophy to heart. 💙

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - well done on getting that podcast out ... the Gaiman quote is so appropriate - all the best Hilary