We’re in our books. The words are part of us. The characters are shaped by our view of the world.
Putting a book away, not looking at it for weeks (or months, if you’re that lucky) is a great asset.
You’re no longer part of the book. You’ve gone on to other books. You can see what you’ve written from a more dispassionate place. You can see the story instead of just the writing.
Sometimes you think, “Hey, that’s not too bad.” Sometimes, you wince and think, “Dear God in heaven, what was I smoking?”
I don’t read any of my books once they’re in print. It might be that I’m so sick of that book I could quote you whole paragraphs – or pages – and the idea of having to read it one more time is torture. A few months ago, however, I started re-formatting (again) some of my backlist, which meant I had to read the book again. I felt a range of emotions while reading.
- Tapestry – Hey, that’s not too bad.
- Above All Others – Rolling eyes.
- Heaven Forbids – Love parts of it. Hate parts of it.
The other books on my backlist received a mix of comments, mostly love parts of it; hate parts of it.
Regardless, the passage of years, in this case, helped me concentrate on the story as opposed to just the writing. I still liked all the stories although I think I could have improved the writing in almost every case.
How about you? Do you find distance helps you in your endeavors?