I have only been writing to publish for about a year and a half. But in that time, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon: My internal critic is after everybody. In the past, when I was just thinking about writing but not really giving it much of my time, I could just sit back and enjoy reading a book. Sure some books disappointed me, but they were few and far between, and the writer really had to falter in some way. But now that I am writing my books and putting them out there for others to read, it seems I have become a lot more alert to slipping plots, weak dialogue or dropped details that seemed important but never grew into anything. I wonder if those same books would have been a fun reading experience if I wasn't so often editing my own work and developing my internal critic to pick up my own slipping plots, weak dialogue, dropped details or undeveloped characters and scenes.
Have I grown an eye that cannot discern between my own work and others? It is an interesting dilemma because I don't want to be less alert in my own work, yet I do want to enjoy what I read. I imagine being an English teacher isn't giving this attentive critic any rest either or training it to take a temporary vacation. I am reviewing some form of writing pretty much daily. My colleagues are known to come up to me and ask if I would look over their aunt's autobiography that she has been working on for years. Truly, I say, "No, thank you. I have more than enough on my plate to go through." And I am talking about student work and have not said a single word about my own efforts to publish. I really haven't put out any signs saying, "Feed my obsession for editing." Is this a common ailment of writers? Am I doomed to examine the bones of every book I read?
It's one thing when I am reading A Tale of Two Cities; that one demands a deep read, but I read books just as often for entertainment at the skin deep level. In fact, I know my books are not for x-ray examination, just a sit back and take a break from reality read is what I am going for.
Writers out there, have you run into this same issue? Is there a cure that won't wipe out that needed critic when my own work is before me?