This is not the blog post I was going to write. To write that one I needed to read a story I have had published previously, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
That got me thinking about why I didn’t want to re-read it. It is a bit of a no-brainer; as the author you will always find something you want to change, and once it is published it is too late to do so.
But the explanation is not that simple, because I don’t like to re-read my story when it comes back to me before it is published as a proof. That is the time when it can be changed, indeed you need to find the errors, so you are forced to read it. So with gritted teeth I always look through it, trying to put as much distance between me and the work, after all, by the time the story has got to proof status it is very annoying for the publisher to change it, so semantics are not well tolerated.
I also hate re-reading my stories before I send them out for consideration. Again, this is another must. You need to make sure that if there is anything a reader might stumble over, you identify it and fix it before you send it out. So again with the gritted teeth (and often out loud) the re-read begrudgingly occurs.
Post final-edit is also a pain for me. I’ve already read it what feels like a million times (and some paragraphs surely do come close to that), so once I get to the end I don’t want to look at a word of it again. But you have to. Gritted teeth…
Pretty much the only time I’m happy to do the re-read is after the first draft is completed and you write those magic words ‘The End’. Probably because at the end of every first draft I’m convinced I’ve just finished the best piece I’ve ever written.
The first re-read usually cures me of that misconception.
Maybe that’s why I don’t like re-reads?