The ultimate judge – you

Hiring editors like ourselves can be very helpful in solving problems with manuscripts. We read carefully and give our best opinions about what can be done to improve the material. But all we can do is suggest. The writer has to be the final arbiter of what works and doesn’t work to improve an ms. – and sometimes, this requires an overhaul in thinking.
It is often suggested that writers put their work away for a while and come back at it later. This helps create space and can provide a fresh perspective. But it doesn’t necessarily provide clarity.
We once sent a manuscript to a well-respected editor who reviewed it and made numerous suggestions which we assiduously followed in a lengthy re-write. But the book still didn’t really work. We were getting comments from editors who weren’t really sure what was wrong with it, but felt it wasn’t successful. So, we hired the editor for another review. She sent back more suggestions, but among them in her critique, was a comment to this effect: “You just don’t want to be understood.”
This was a revelation. She was right, and of all the suggestions she made, this one alone was worth her fee. We were indulging in the fantasy of writing a book and not getting tough with ourselves about what we really wanted to say.
Sometimes, working out the kinks in your ms. can be a matter of working out the kinks in your head. Like everything to do with writing, it is not easy work.