The idea of book-as-baby is a common trope, and it applies not only to books but to any piece of writing that is going to be read by someone other than you. You labour to bring forth the object, and then send it out into the world.
In order to prepare a child for the world, you do your best to second-guess the hazards she might encounter. You nourish her, vaccinate her and educate her. Does the parallel with writing still hold? Why yes. It does.
My earliest forays into publication, back in the early 1980s when newspapers and books were still edited wholly by literate human beings and not largely by American grammar-checking programs, involved the then literary editor of The Age (not the current one) parcelling up volumes of poetry in fours and fives and asking me to write 500-word reviews covering all of them. This as you can imagine was no easy task, though it provided valuable early training in the art of saying something useful in a tiny space. (Which may be why I love to bang on at such length en blog. It's because I can.)
This was fine until I realised that as often as not, on publication, the final paragraph had simply disappeared. Which was another valuable lesson in the fact that in the production of newspapers, the measurement of column inches takes precedence over meaning -- as it must; space, like money, is measurable and finite, and doesn't magically expand just because one feels the need to calibrate one's nuances more finely. (As with money, again.)
And some sub-editors, I discovered, will simply physically trim the edges off your copy as though it were cookie dough, sorry, biscuit dough. I developed a strategy of writing penultimate paragraphs that would, if called upon, serve as final ones, for the times when the 500 words I had been asked for and provided happened not to fit into the space around the advertising -- for which the books pages were, then as now, desperate in order to justify their existence to a stern and pragmatic management, and the sub found it easiest simply to lop off the last little bit. It felt - no, don't go there.
I was reminded of this last night when I wrote a sentence I quite liked, comparing Don Dunstan's pink shorts to Cinderella's glass slipper, 'unwearable by all but one.'
The spell-checker promptly 'corrected' unwearable to unbearable.
I constantly see things in print, and I bet you do too, that appear to make no sense until it dawns on me that Word has 'corrected' something and no human eye and hand have intervened to correct it back. And everyone even remotely connected with writing and publishing knows that sometimes literals creep in, or amendments somehow fail to be taken in, or corrections are somehow not corrected back. I had a vivid mental picture of readers sitting down with the book and puzzling over the notion that the Pink Shorts were unbearable to all but one.
(Which has its own strange charm, as notions go, but which we know not to be true.)
And so I have changed the sentence to something less satisfactory but stronger proof against the processes, as they now are, of publishing. The child is now safe from the measles, but one sheds a parental tear over the pinprick of broken skin.