I don’t usually get to final drafts with much of my work. I tend to be a perfectionist, and because of that, I revise and revise and revise, and, in my eyes, it’s never good enough to actually send out to be published, so I revise again. Oddly enough, I’ve gotten to final drafts with some of my poems and sent them off to contests and to be published. Three of them were published in my community college’s literary journal. A few more were published in one of my university’s literary magazines. And one short story of mine got in the top 10 percent of all stories submitted to another contest.
Now I can’t look at them. I can’t read them over with the knowledge that somebody else has read them and liked them, or read them and critiqued them – even though the critique was obviously positive, since the pieces were successful. I wanted to read them all over yesterday to see what I had apparently done right, but I couldn’t bring myself to take those pieces out. Not sure why. Maybe it’s fear that I won’t be successful again with a new round of submissions. To some degree, I think we all cringe at reading our older writing, no matter how “good” it was at the time. But in a way, it’s a good thing – it means we may have gotten better than what we’ve written in the past.
So my question for my readers is… are you ever hesitant about re-reading work that got published or won an award?