Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Reading My Published Work

When I first started seeing my work in print, I read every word of every published piece. I even pulled out my manuscripts and placed them side-by-side with the publications. I compared everything. I studied what the editors had done, asking myself, "Why did he insert this comma? Why did she remove that comma? Why did he insert a scene break here? Why did she change the name of my secondary character?"

Later, I read my published work less for the editing lessons I might learn and more just because I received pleasure from seeing my work in print. There is a certain feeling reading a story, article, or essay in a magazine or anthology that's quite different from reading it in manuscript.

I don't read my published work much these days. Perhaps I just haven't enough time. Perhaps I'm jaded. Either way, I've been writing for some editors for so long that whever editing lessons I might learn are minimal and whatever thrill I might get from reading my own work is negligible.

When I have time to read, I read the work of others. These days, there's more to learn from studying how others write and more joy in discovering what others create.

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