UNlike millions of people, I was the only one in my family of eight with bad eyesight. I actually didn't even know I had bad eyesight until I was in the third grade and someone told me! (Unlike my son who told me his eyes were "broken" when he was three.)
My teacher led us down to the lunchroom at the beginning of the year for the annual vision screening. I was bored waiting in line because, like everyone else in the lines, we'd passed this test so many times before. When it was my turn, I stepped up to the line with all the confidence of someone taking a test where all they had to do was point three of their fingers in the direction the letter E was turned. (I know! By third grade, you'd think they'd have let us graduate to the eye charts that showed actual letters.)
I wasn't worried at all. I could see just fine. Everything I needed to see was RIGHT THERE. Sure, I might have to be close to things, but didn't everyone?
I stared at the chart, dumbfounded. I couldn't make out any of the letters on the line she pointed at! After a moment of silence, she pointed to the line above it, and asked if I could read that line. I tried my best. I guessed at the answers. I must not have guessed very well, because she moved up a line. After I finished with that one, she asked me to come with her, and put me by myself in front of the stage. My whole class stared at me, knowing I had failed my test. They left to go back to the class, the school nurse re-tested me, then informed me that I need to let my mom know I needed glasses.
I was so blindsided by it, I took a detour to the bathroom on my way back to my classroom and cried.
But THEN, a couple weeks later, I got my new glasses. On the car drive home, I stared at my surroundings in amazement. I could see the rocks in the asphalt! I could see trees on the mountains! I could read the signs on the street! And when I got to school the next day, I could see the chalkboard FROM ANYWHERE IN THE ROOM.
It seemed laughable that I'd been reduced to tears weeks earlier when I'd found out. Because now, I COULD SEE! I could finally see!
I think it's the same way with writing. Sometimes you're so close to your story, you don't realize there are problems from a distance. Sometimes you need to take a break from it and walk far away. And then when you're ready to turn back around and take a look at it, you can see if there's a problem with how clear things are. Things you didn't notice when you were so close to it.
So when things just don't feel quite right, don't go into the bathroom and cry. Walk away for a while! When you come back, you'll finally be able to SEE.