One of most important lessons I've learned about writing--and one of its most difficult aspects for many of us--is what I've come to call "simmering process."
You've just finished an article, story or query letter, and you get that adrenaline rush that comes with completion of a job well done. Your prose sings. That opening paragraph, one you'd struggled with for days, is perhaps one of finest things you've ever written. Not one word wasted, and nary a dangling participle. You simply can't wait to ship it off to editor, or your agent, or your customer.
But that's exactly what you have to do--wait. In other words, let it simmer a day or two.
But why wait? The sooner you send it out, sooner you'll get acceptance, byline, paycheck, right?
Well, maybe. On other hand, you might be sending your work out before it's truly finished. The piece might still be undercooked, a little raw on inside. And at this point, having just put what you thought was final touch on your creation, you might be standing too close to it to spot its imperfections.
I have learned to let my essays and articles simmer, like a pot of stew on stove, before submitting them. And it constantly amazes me, what I see in an article or essay I've written, after I've stepped away from it for a while. Typos and poor word selections seem to jump off page at me, which I can now correct and improve. That wonderful paragraph that I once believed I could not live without appears unnecessary now, so I remove it. I replace that original lame title with a perfect one, one that will more likely beckon an editor to read it.