If my writing were a scab, I’d have impetigo from picking at it so much.
Of course I write for me, for accuracy to the vision. But when I rewrite for readability by others, every little change has a trade-off.
I’m working on a poem now, 450 words originally written in a very quick burst of inspiration. The first draft was intense, powerful, and had that certain magical fluency attained when you first recognize you’ve learned a new language well enough to finally say precisely what you want. The first draft had heart.
The third draft is tighter, clearer, more condensed and streamlined. Neater. Conformist. No one else will ever know the comparative difference but I do. Editing shaved off the passionate curlicues in order to remove the intensity splinters, the magical fluency took polish at the expense of character.
Some have suggested time brings a more balanced editing approach. Perhaps patience can bring some of the old voice back to the fourth draft.