I have heard this before, and I thought I appreciated it, but only when I thought I had finished The Q Fragments did I learn the truth of this statement. Like many authors, I did not want to get into reviews and rewrites. It is difficult for a writer to proof his or her own work. The brain takes over and ‘reads’ what it wants to read, even though the fingers on the keyboard, writing the actual words, do not always comply with what the mind is thinking. It is easy, for example, to think an and have your fingers type and. The and he are too damn close, and it is too easy to think a word but fail to type it, especially if one is a fast typist, as I am.
But, reviewing, proofing and rewriting can be creative as well as conceiving and writing the story in the first place. After the hunt for the obvious errors is done, the misused words, the dropped article or pronoun, the writer has the opportunity to better assess what he or she has written in comparison with the story that lives in our heads.
Characters in my mind look, act and speak in certain ways, particular to them. While a character may live this way in my imagination, getting those movements, words and attitudes across on the printed page can be far more difficult that it first appears. The disjunction with the details in the author’s mind with what emerges on paper is a big challenge, and, especially in my case, needs to be treated with due humility. I am not as good a writer as I want to be. I can approach my personal vision of my work, but that takes actual work beyond the first drafts of a story, no matter how good.
I think that’s why creative processes and outcomes are often called “works”.
Now, back to work.