I wrote the bulk of this draft of my novel in about two and a half months, while going to college full time, working two jobs, and being around to babysit my little brother. Needless to say, the effort left me a little bit tired out, so I set the draft aside for about a month.
Many people/writing websites have suggested this "setting aside" to me numerous times, as a way to gain a clear perspective on a story. As it turns out, I've always thought that this process resembles the proverbial process of "bed rest" which never turns out as well as it should...but I digress.
I set aside my manuscript for about a month, and picked it up again last week. After reading through it (skimming really, but I've been working with this story for five years...) I realized that the first third of it needs some major plot revision.
Bummer? yes. I was ready to read through it, say: "Finally, my masterpiece is complete!" and set about researching agents/publishing houses. Sure, I was aware that the scenario in my mind was flawed, deeply, but it was a nice, flawed scenario.
On the bright side, my realization was coupled with another realization: if I do the plot revision well, I'll have built my story on some really, really relevant issues. Oh, and I really like the end.