I’ve detected a pattern in myself post-publications. I can’t look at the books for some time afterwards, probably because I’ve been so swallowed up by them for over a year while writing them. But after a few weeks working on a follow up, simultaneously I start to re-read its predecessor.
Writing is draining. My own experience has been that by the time I’ve set pen (well, technically keyboard) aside at the finish, my head’s spinning. I can’t think straight.
And when you write so much that’s so complex and layered, you can forget some of the things you yourself wrote. Small things. Little bits.
A “cooling down” period allows the books “to rest” for a time too. After that pause of some weeks, “fresh eyes” in re-reading helps in better seeing the overall tale and narrative from a reader’s perspective: going through it just like someone picking it up (or downloading it) for the first time. I did that with Passports. I’m now doing it again with Frontiers.
On the latter, again I’m happy about it generally. It’s not perfect, but nothing’s perfect. If aiming for “perfection” is your main writing criteria, you’ll need to find another line of work immediately.
Re-reading Frontiers in recent days, I find I’m thinking once again to myself, “I wrote that? Gee, that’s really good!” Or I shudder a little: “Uh, I could’ve done that a little better, but it’s fine. Well, it has to be. It’s published.”
As you may know if you drop in here regularly, in down time I’ve been reading The Winds of War, by Herman Wouk. It was written between 1964-1971. Look at this chapter’s opening paragraph. It’s fantastic:
And my gut tells me there is NO WAY you would get away with a paragraph like that nowadays. It’s “dated.” But it’s still superb stuff.
Thankfully, at least I’ve so far never thought to myself, “Dear God! I wrote that for public consumption? What the hell was I thinking?!” Although, presumably, at some point in the future – perhaps even currently! – someone out there may well be wondering that of my output. Or, if you write, of phrasings in your books too! 😉
Hope you’re having a good Monday. 🙂