Pick up a book that you wrote yourself, oh, about five years ago or more. Look at the cover (no problem, you’re used to that.) Look at the book sideways. There’s tens of thousands of words in there. You wrote them all.
Do you dare read it?
It’s horrible. It’s like wading out into an icy lake with the chill creeping up your body. You go slowly – so very slowly - and every line is agony. Who wrote this stuff? Could it really be you? You did this. How on Earth did you think you could get away with it? The lines are… (1) The dialogue is … (2) What you’re looking at seems to be the work of a tyro. Or possibly a madman. Ugh.
Actors, I am told, hate watching themselves on screen. The way they get through it is to look at everybody in the scene except themselves. The author, unfortunately, has no one else to watch. There’s no escaping what you’ve done. You must either put it back on the shelf, or plunge in.
But if you can plunge in (back to that icy lake again) you find after a bit that it’s not so bad. You stop noticing those mannerisms of yours that to begin with were so off-putting, and that most other readers were never bothered by and may not even have noticed in the first place. You might start enjoying the scenery. This isn’t half bad, after all, you may think. Not half bad at all. Some of it, anyway. You could almost forgive yourself.
And it wouldn’t be that surprising if, after a bit, you did surprise yourself. Some of it will be bloody brilliant.
(1) insert appropriate descriptor here. If these days you favour short, stark sentences, insert ‘gross’ or ‘florid’. If vice versa, insert ‘infantile’ etc.
(2) as for (1) but ‘fake’ probably covers all possibilities.