Not Able To Read Your Own Work

When I had to copy-edit and proof read my first book, I was really terrified to do so. Not because I thought there would be so many mistakes, but because I was scared to read the book over again.

I was scared I would open the book and hate it. I wouldn’t like the characters. I’d despise the writing, and find it full of the tricks I hated in other books. I wouldn’t understand the plot – or find it too simple. I was worried I would loathe my own book.

I did do the proofreading and copy-editing, trying hard to do whilst not actually reading the book. (Bit hard to do). And it’s not a problem I’ve had since. I am very happily copy-editing my second and revising my third right now. (Well, about twenty minutes ago).

Other people seem to quite like the book, judging by the reviews and award nomination, and yet, I still can’t quite bring myself to read it. I’m still worried I won’t like it. I know this is wrong. I wrote a book I wanted to read, and when I catch a glimpse of the text, I love it. And yet, I’m almost scared to touch it, in case it turns to dross in my hand. Like catching the golden ring, and discovering it’s only brass after all.

Am I the only one who has ever felt like this? Have you ever felt like you cannot bear to read your own work? That you’d be too critical, or perhaps not critical enough? I hope I’m not unique. I think someone, somewhere, has been too afraid to open their own book.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby


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