Once I have a first draft of a novel or story, I put it aside for some period of time and don’t allow myself to think about it at the conscious level. After that cooling period, I return to the story and, still in the creative mode, begin to revise it, sharpening some passages, reducing or even eliminating others. After a second cooling period, I return to the story once again and, still in the right brain mode, revise it a third time.
For the fourth revision, I switch to intellectual, left-brain, thinking and try to see the story as a reader would. I work on precision of wording and reshape paragraphs and chapters for balance.
Continuing the alternation between the creative and intellectual approaches, I go through as many as ten drafts before I’m persuaded that the story is as it should be, that I can’t improve it further. Then I start looking for a publisher.
My description makes the writing process sound more methodical and regimented than it really is. Sometimes I move from the creative to the rational and back while writing. I allow intuition to direct my decisions about wording, revising, cutting, or adding. But my final take on a piece of writing is always with the rational-intellectual side in command.