Sometimes, the more I care for something, the less I want it exposed to the scrutiny of others. Generally, that’s the point for me when I have to put the piece away for a while – almost until I forget about it a bit – and revisit when I’m not quite as invested. Then, that’s the point when I can rework it a bit and share.
Although I’ve worked in creative fiction groups and taken classes and workshops where we’re encouraged to quickly churn out prose and immediately present it for group scrutiny – journalist style – that hasn’t ever helped me to get my best work in fiction. In non-fiction, when working to deadlines, after my research is done and I’ve got it right – sure! It’s no problem for me to churn out reams of good – sometimes even great – copy. But for whatever reason my prose benefits from simmering and a long point of view.
That’s a great benefit of aging for me: I finally have the confidence from years of education and experience to know and trust my style and methods, and I’m also old enough to know that sometimes new is better and more is more. I like that I know what works for me but can still try something new.