I am in the middle of writing the best article ever. At least it was two days ago when I last looked at it. Opening it again this morning, I wondered who had gotten their hands on it. Who stretched the sentences out so long they took up whole paragraphs? Who came up with that cheesy metaphor?
Oh yeah, me of course.
Over and over again I learn the “let it simmer” rule. Every now and again I can do the Save and Send and it turns out okay in the end. The editor is pleased. Tweaking is minimal. Regrets are few when the piece is finally in print. Yahoo!
Usually, though, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.
A few days away from a piece (even a few hours can dampen the spirits of the most self-flattering of writers) allows the writer to read their own work much more critically. Which only strengthens the piece in the end. The copy you do turn in will be stronger and less likely to be chopped to bits by your editor. Because you’ve already seen the pacing problems, the weakness of the quote you selected, the feeble nature of your introduction, the flabby transition, the self-indulgence of the personal story you wove throughout, the fall off the cliff ending, even the spelling mistakes that reveal the duplicitous nature of that spell check program you say you love so much.
Letting writing simmer on the burner for a few days, which assumes of course that your deadline is not tapping you on the shoulder the whole time you write, makes your writing better, stronger and more pleasing to just about everybody. Including yourself.