Over the weekend, family and friends from DC stayed with me. They wanted a taste of NY Christmas. I've been living in Brooklyn, NY for three years and two years before that I'd been attending school in NJ so, I visited NY often.
After a while, some things stop being magical. Don't get me wrong, I still love the city just for completely different reasons. It's nice to have someone visit from outside and drag me to all the touristy places. I wouldn't have visited the Macy's windows or the Big Tree if they hadn't come.
A few years ago, I'd walk past this area in the city that would always be crowed. It was a nightmare. Tons of people were like camped out there, impeding traffic. One day, I was standing across the street and noticed people pointing their cameras up. Wondering what could possibly be so interesting, I looked up. Turns out, that crowded area was the entrance to the Empire State Building.
On the NY metro, people perform for money. After three years, the novelty's worn off and it's like driving an icicle through my temples. But, seeing how excited "outsiders" got watching the performers had me looking at the them with interest, for the moment at least.
This got me thinking about writing and why it's so important to have a fresh pair of eyes over our shoulder. I've become so immune to horror, I can't recognize it in my own work. People read my stories and tell me it scared them. I'm floored because it wasn't my intention. It's a nice side-effect but I didn't go into the story intending to frighten people.
I thought I was "meh" at descriptions until several readers told me how vivid my descriptions were. You can and should try to predict how readers will view your story but you really don't know unless you ask them. The new eyes can lead you to hidden treasures.