Okay, so on Valentines day I was a guest at a wedding and someone asked me what the hardest part of the wrting process was. Bolstered by alcohol I enthused "Oh ... None of it really ... I enjoy all of it." Oh how I lied! Or possibly I'd just forgotten.
I find the manuscript correction really hard and wearing. I'm not talking about proof corrections, when the galleys come back from the publisher: at least by that late stage there's usually been a 5-month gap in which I haven't read the book and it feels fresh. Plus the publisher has accepted it so at least you know that the work isn't a complete bag of shite. No, I don't enjoy doing proofs but I don't mind it.
I'm talking about the bit where you've written the novel and then you have to go back through and read it, every word and every punctuation mark, looking for logic problems, plot holes, typos, repeated words in a paragraph and repeated phrases from chapter to chapter. Did she lift her hands over her head when they were tied behind her back (Ouch!)? Did he have to be carrying rather more luggage in his pockets than the average Sherpa can manage to lift? Did she "squeal like a pig" every time she had sex? (Okay, I promise I didn't use that simile even once!) Its or It's? Peon or Paeon or Paean? (Yes, they all mean different things and spellchecker won't tell you if you've used the right one) Then you do it again. And again. Without a break. And all the time you're wondering whether you haven't just wasted 7 months of your life because you've no idea whether it's publishable anyway.
I read Heart of Flame through three times after finishing, and actually reached a point where all the text became so familiar that it achieved a sort of timeless singularity where all the dialogue was going on simultaneously in my head and I could no longer tell whether there was any logical progression from one part of the story to the next.
That's the point at which to stop. Just before you get to the stage where in an attempt to preserve your sanity you decide you no longer give a crap.
But it's lovely when it's over ... and you can start thinking about doing some proper writing again.