For those of you who don't know, galleys is the name given to a story when it's set in type, but not yet published. Basically, it's the writer's last chance to look at the story and make corrections. Sometimes those corrections are needed because of a mistake you made when writing the story, but sometimes you want to fix a change the editor made. And sometimes it's just a question of making sure that hyphenated words are broken in the right place and that quotation marks face in the correct direction.
But for me, all that is secondary to the experience I have when I hold the galleys in my hand. For the first time, the story feels real. I start to read it again, and instead of seeing it as a manuscript I'm working on, I see it as a full-fledged work of fiction...and I find myself getting lost in the tale. For some reason, the story just reads better when set in type, and I sometimes find myself marveling over the work, even though it's my own. I'll come to one turn of phrase and say, "Wow. Did I write that?" Or I'll read a scene and get drawn into the conflict and the characters. The story is no longer an amorphous blob; it's a real story, a work of fiction, and something I can finally be proud of.
I wonder if other writers react the same way.