We have all heard the advice. When you finish your writing, set it aside and come back in XX days or weeks.
But how long do you wait?
I usually take some time to pound out a first draft as I only have a rough idea of where I am going with it. Yes, I know the end, and I know most of the plot points, as well as the main through line before I start writing. However, things change. New characters pop up. I see better ways to do things, and as much writing is thinking and exploring, I see my story develop as I write. Having said that, I usually finish a first draft of a novel in a year or two.
But then, you want to start changing things. But wait. Cool down.
The problem is that if you jump in now, things will get messy. In a bad way. You are too close to your work, love your characters too much, and are too used to your own language and writing.
That’s why you need to cool off.
So, take some time, as long as you can. DO NOT look at that piece. You need to clear your mind of it.
Then, go back, maybe after a month, or a few months, and read it over again.
So how long do you wait? As long as you can, but at least a few weeks. Otherwise, the point of rereading it is lost.
And finally, rewrite.