Sometimes My Worst Critic Is Myself

Photo by 2happy. Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Photo by 2happy.
Image courtesy of Stockvault.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Sometimes My Worst Critic Is Myself

  1. I can completely understand this process. Unfortunately, I need to work with pro editors in order for me to polish objectively. I’ve got 2 that will be completed almost back to back. My first novel is more ready to go than #2. In which case, I’m also managing and writing on 3 blogs, mostly on 2. I have a TV review site that I don’t write on as frequently because it takes more mental juice. In other words, I want to write good and fair critiques. Also, I am picky with what is out there and so I don’t write as fast on that site.

    Anyway, I think it’s hard to be objective when it comes to our own work. Period. After a long period of sitting on my work and feeling like I was spinning my wheels. I finally had to get someone to look at it. For me, it’s an investment in making it better. Do you have beta readers? What is your genre?

    FYI when I was 20 (I’m 40 now) I wrote a 600 page novel that was crap. I threw it out. Then, I noticed at least 2 different movies that were similar to that novel. You never know what is good or what isn’t. But, it is very easy to be hard on ourselves.

    Keep it up and keep at it, don’t give up no matter what. And if you can, get beta readers. I’ll read your work if you wish.

    Hope you’ve had a decent heart day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right; it is quite difficult to be objective. Before I can kick this book (it’s dystopian sci-fi) to my writing group, I need to get the beginning to match the new ending I wrote for it a few months ago.

      Thank you for your kind offer to read it. Right now, I’m hunting down a couple other people who expressed interest. They’ve been harassing me about it, and since they’ve been waiting, I feel obliged for them to get a crack at it first.

      My Valentine’s Day went well. I hope yours went okay too!

      Liked by 1 person

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