One of my sons is in the music industry. Among the things he does is work with bands to record their music. “You work in the studio for hours and hours,” he told me. “Do the same in the mixing room, until it all sounds great. Exhausted but satisfied, you get in your car, slip the disk into the player and as you drive home, you hear all the things that are wrong with it.”
Having just finished the draft of a new novel, I do what many writers do, find a first reader. In my case I sent the book to someone whose judgments I greatly value, and trust. She’s often my first reader. Bless her! But, no sooner does the manuscript get swallowed by the postal service, than I’m accosted by thoughts of all the things wrong with it.
Why does this happen? Because I’m suddenly thinking of the reader, not the writer. Because it is now the reader’s book, not the writer’s. Because I’m not controlling it any more.
Except I am the writer. So when I get back from the post office what do I do with that just finished book, the one I’ve just sent off? I start to rewrite it.