Though the "giving birth" analogy is not unfounded, I do not think that a piece of art qualifies as an example of a living breathing progeny; you can't really go back and change or undo an event or effect of your influence on a person like you can with a story rendered "permanent" onto paper.
As a person with an athletic background, the haunting of "if onlys" and "should haves" is familiar to me. And yet, even with a work that can still be retouched and modified--as these books can--there comes a time where one has to--where one wants to--let go and move on. I have other projects to get to, more creating to do. But Amazon's wonderful CreateSpace service allows the author/artist to return to a "finished" product and change or edit content or artwork...forever! It is a gift that I never thought possible--a gift as already I've discovered multiple "mistakes" or awkwardnesses that I want to go back and change. So, I am! It's so wonderful to be able to do this! Thank you so much, modern digital Internet world, for allowing this fairly fluid process to continue to unfold and adapt.
I cannot imagine the inner turmoil and consternation writer/authors of the former age had to put up with. I try to put myself in the shoes--into the mind--of Charles Dickens or Feodor Doestoevsky or Herman Melville as their latest installments--often edited by "professionals" at their printing point or publication house--reached the public eye--reached their own eyes. Now I understand why so many actors try to avoid watching the films or shows that they're in: the artist is rarely content with their "finished" product, rarely satisfied that they might have achieved "perfection" with this latest expression of their talents. And the fact that for every William Faulkner or Umberto Eco there are a thousand Drew Fishers leaves one simply unable to puff one's chest. I try to find satisfaction with my work, contentment with my meagre ability to use language to tell a story, but then there are always one's heroes to continue to compare oneself to. I find myself able to enjoy and be proud of the achievement of the expression of my story.
Though people will surely find similarities in my characters or themes to works of others, I am humbled by the fact that I still enjoy my own stories--I still get emotional when I read my books; even in the umpteenth perusal I find myself getting engaged, choking up at the emotional scenes, laughing at the subtleties of humor, feeling surprised at a "clever" twist of words. Writing is fun. Even when the work is "finished." Whatever that means…