Pretend it isn’t yours.
Maybe this method only makes sense for me, because I’m also an editor and I’m used to marking up (carefully and compassionately, I swear) other people’s work. But it’s worth a shot, right?
So here is what I did. I printed my story out and brought it with me to my son’s appointment. (I get a lot of work done in waiting rooms. Also during gymnastics. Sometimes during the commercials of TV shows. Any downtime is fair game.) I pretended it wasn’t my story and that I’d never read it before. And I grabbed a pen and just marked the heck out of it.
This line, too long. The pacing is off here. This word should be replaced. Needs more action here.
I made the story better, I tightened it up and I knocked down the word count, always excellent things to do when you’re writing a picture book. There are one or two more things I want to fix before I send it out into the wild, but all in all, a most productive waiting-room visit.
And for my next period of downtime? I’ve got another story printed and ready for marking.