One of the most important skills you can have as a writer is the ability to detach yourself from your work and diagnose its weaknesses objectively—as if you were a doctor examining a patient.
We all get married to a word, a turn of a phrase, a paragraph that is stylistically glorious. But what may showcase your prose style may also detract from your book’s plot (and vice versa). It takes the ability to look at your work in a clinical manner—with you as the cool, dispassionate, detached doctor whose only mission is to diagnose and cure the ills.
It is not easy—we all get emotionally involved with our work—but with practice you can become your own book’s best doctor. You diagnose the problems and you devise the cures. Sometimes only an aspirin will be needed; other times a scalpel will be required; and sometimes, unfortunately, only radical, risky surgery will save the patient.