Being your own worst critic comes easy for most (if not all) writers. It’s just naturally ingrained in us to doubt ourselves, second-guess our work and worry that it won’t be accepted. It might surprise you, but I think this is a good thing. If you can sit in front of your manuscript, take a deep breath, and brace yourself for the inevitable splash of blood-red that is to come during the editing process, it means you are okay with cutting out the not so great and rewording, reworking and rewriting so that your manuscript is the best you can make it. If you aren’t critical of your work, or at the very least, humble about it, then when that first, or tenth, negative review comes in, it will be like a punch to the gut. You might even puke. And laptops don’t like being yacked on.
The upside of being able to critique your own work, is that you also have the ability to be your own personal cheerleader. Did you hit delete after highlighting one thousand words that you KNOW you can write better, without crying? Have you learned along the way, listening to your peers, pushing ahead when your Muse took off for a coffee break but then sent a postcard from some exotic vacation spot, making it clear there was no rush to return? Have you survived reading that first and tenth negative review with poise? It’s okay to pat yourself on the back every once in a while when you reach goals you’ve set for writing. Because writing goals are usually big ones. If you want to run around the house naked, with wine sloshing out of a giant bowl, howling like a wolf, and doing the moonwalk while Doctor Who plays in the background…all because you hit the infamous ‘PUBLISH’ button on Amazon – go for it – you deserve it. If you can’t be happy for your completed works, or met goals, who else should be? Just don’t let it go to your head, and you know, be sure your curtains are closed if you really do prance around the house naked. Trust me, your neighbors will thank you for that.
Writers need to be able to say, ‘This is total crap’ at then be able to turn around and say, ‘This is unedited awesomeness’, without bursting into a blubbering mess, hugging the laptop to their chest like a life raft, and begging for death to take them quickly. Writers should be able to objectively evaluate their work – and find amazing people who will also objectively evaluate their work. And there’s nothing wrong with being happy for the little things along the way. Not everyone can say they are a writer, and even less can say they are published. If you’ve done both, you’re awesomesauce amazeballs. But, like the line in The Decoy Bride says, “Keep your head down, Tolstoy.” If you are in this business for fame, you’ve probably picked the wrong niche of the entertainment and arts industry, cuz you might be waiting a long time. Just saying. Always keep a warm Humble Pie in the oven, and grab a slice when you feel your ego outgrowing your pants. If it bursts at the seams, it won’t be a pretty thing to witness. If you happen to land it big, then definitely run around the house naked with a bowl of wine. And invite me to that party. We’d have a blast!
Happy Critiquing and Cheering!