Revision and self-critique are essential tools to the writing process. Without them, I might write something completely unintelligible or simply awful. As tools, they’re like fire: use them carefully or be consumed by them.
Naturally, I like to tell myself that I have control over these things at all time. It’s a comforting and necessary lie. The reality is that there are times when I do too much, when I lose the happy medium and end up beating myself down. Writing becomes a masochistic process at that point, followed by the necessary lapse in production.
Other people might not have this problem, and some might be too familiar with it. I wish I had good answers for myself and others when my critical process gets out of control. Then again, if I had those answers, it wouldn’t be a problem.
From there, I sometimes wonder how many stories I might have told if I hadn’t just deleted them or thrown them away. What if they were actually good? If I had a time machine, I might go back and rescue some of them. Barring the purchase of a flux capacitor and a Mr. Fusion generator, I’m stuck in the here and now.
Fortunately I’m becoming more comfortable with that. Rather than critique my own work into the trash, I promise myself to not make any decisions when I’m in one of those moods. When things improve, I get back to work.