I was watching an interview recently with Molly Ringwald (of "Sixteen Candles" fame). She's all grown up now, and was talking about her various interests: acting, singing, motherhood.
The interviewer asked if she ever watched her own movies, and she said no, she didn't. She said that making a movie, being in a movie, was a totally different experience than watching it. And that other people who adore "Sixteen Candles" enjoy it in a totally different way than she did, because she was in it. She helped to create it.
And it just felt familiar to me, this sensation of being "inside" a creative work, being involved in the nuts-and-bolts process of it, and so, not being able to fully enjoy it the way others do. Because, as writers, we create this world, these characters. And though it's an enjoyable process, certainly, it's also a unique one. Because I'll never be able to read my own books the way other readers will. I will always have a different experience because I'm so close to that material. I'll never be able to read my own scenes without wanting to tweak them, or doubting some story decisions I'd made, or remembering the initial seed of inspiration that helped to create them. I don't come to the page fresh, empty-handed, empty-minded. I come to it with a certain amount of baggage.
It's not a bad thing, of course. But sometimes, I do wish I could look at my own books as just "a reader." Not quite so attached, so invested in every word. That I could enjoy them from that other angle, the reader's angle. Just to see what it would feel like.