I recently finished edits on a novella that will be out this fall, and every time I work with an editor, I learn something new. No matter how tight I think my writing is, when I work with an editor who really knows their stuff, I find something that needs more cranking. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I’ve gotten past the point where having my mistakes pointed out to me makes me defensive. Usually I slap my forehead, get a bit chagrined, but ultimately I’m grateful to learn something new and have the opportunity to make my writing even better. I habitually thank my editors for their insight and for being willing to teach me things.
That’s why I’m a writer, after all, not just because I like to tell stories, but because I want to understand writing and all its rules and usages and learn everything I can about it. A carpenter learns their trade not just because they love to build things, but because they’re interested in all the components of their craft–the tools, the wood, the techniques. I think it’s an important aspect of any skill that you want to keep learning about it and trying to do it better. A carpenter wouldn’t create a lopsided, precariously-built house and call it good enough, and I don’t want to leave my writing ‘good enough’ when it could be better.
I’m happy every time I learn something new, even if I look back at the already-published stuff and wince because I wasn’t doing it then. However, the thing about writing is you can’t keep going back and fixing up things that have already gone out into the world (and if you’re traditionally published, just try asking your publisher if they’ll take your book down and let you revise it–see how hilarious that reaction is) you can only apply the new things you’ve learned to future books and keep trying to be better.
I don’t expect to ever be perfect, I don’t think there is any such thing–I’ve seen even the biggest authors in the business make mistakes–but I love to write and I love to learn about it.