“It’s not you, it’s me.”
That moment in a relationship where one of you has to get away. In this case the one who has to get away is you – from your words.
Writing is a relationship between you and your words. And as with any relationship, writing is always a step into the unknown. Whatever you’ve written – whether for work, a course, a competition or even just for yourself (perhaps especially if it’s just for yourself) – you’ll have experienced emotions, some of them pretty intense. Sometimes it will be exciting and overwhelming; at others it will be easy and sweet, or exasperating and frustrating.
So once your text has been written try to distance yourself from it physically as well as emotionally by getting away from it for as long as your time frame allows. Any relationship benefits from time and space apart and words are no different. Words appreciate time and space in order to do their work best. Time for you to become detached and objective, and space on the page to interact with the reader.
If you can manage a night’s sleep – or several of them – all the better. If a deadline is looming, try to build some time in for you to go away and do something else that will enable you to forget about your text for a while.
You need a cool, detached head for editing and proofreading. Ideally, you need to be viewing your work as though you’ve never seen it before, as a professional proofreader – and subsequently your eventual readers – would. “Write drunk, edit sober,” Ernest Hemingway is reputed to have said. While it’s doubtful he would have meant these words literally, they nevertheless serve as a memorable metaphor for the different states of mind needed for the creative and technical parts of the writing process.
All creation involves emotional investment. There are emotions when you put your text out into the world, too. And good proofreading can help lessen the anxiety.
But first you need to get away for a while. You’ll find that when you go back to your work, mistakes and typos will jump out at you.