Ain't that the truth? Sometimes, I've written what I think is a brilliant article. Then, I read it and my heart sinks. Not brilliant but dull as all get-out. *sigh* Time for a rewrite. And, even if the first draft was pretty good, it can always be better and, usually, a LOT better. I have learned that editing and rewriting are just as important as the original story for the story to shine in all it's potential splendor.
I've also learned that, even though I also work as an editor, I need another editor to look at my work for me. Fresh eyes and a virginal read can point out flaws in the story line, sentences that can be taken in a way I didn't intend, subject/verb agreement can be off, you name it -- even misspellings! Go figure.
My writing life resembles my "real" life. I do what I think is write, uh . . . right, and damn it! I find out from a trusted (editor) friend that I screwed up again. In real life, editing looks a lot like apologizing and asking forgiveness. It's like reading my story and finding a portion that I loved has to be scratched. It's painful, but necessary to keep the story line of life intact. Occasionally, a character has to be deleted from the story, because it doesn't add anything of quality.
So, I get Irving's point. Half of life really is revision, whether it's my writing life or my real life. It consists of doing it, working through it again, and doing it all over until I get it right (write).