One of the hardest things that writers have to do is to be objective about their own
work. And I can certainly attest to how difficult it is to be objective. It is easy to be
all eager about the first draft and how you are writing. The project is new, the plot
is new and you feel really pumped up and happy to finally be writing the story.
However, once you write it down, the real difficulties start. You have to revise
your work as if you are the editor. You have to see the benefits and drawbacks of
your manuscript. You have to determine what works and what doesn’t. But how
can one gain objectivity about our own work. I have found several ways that really
work for me.
1. Make sure that you put your first draft aside for a few weeks so that you
could get some distance between that initial draft and your next draft.
2. Move on to another manuscript for a while. You may want to draft up a new
story or you may want to revise another one. Make sure that you are always
working on something that is interesting and moving you along as a writer.
3. Learn how to be your own critic. This is especially the case for the first few
drafts of your manuscript. Once you master the elements of a picture book, make
sure that your story follows these elements perfectly. Make sure your plot is strong,
and that your story line moves along. I will talk more about the basics of creating a
proper picture book story later on.
4. Find a way to pull yourself back from the intimacy of your own story and
read the story as if you are an outsider with objectivity. One way that I achieve this
is to wear a set of funky reading glasses that are different from my regular ones.
They are usually magnifiers and they make me focus on the different aspects of my
prose and my story.
5. Try not to be emotionally committed to any of the words that you have
written in your picture book. Instead, have a fluid relationship with the words and
prose so that changing them won’t be such a pain for you.
So, how objective can you be when revising your manuscripts? Learn to be more
objective. That way, you’ll be able to revise your manuscript properly before you
send it off for someone else to look at it.