I used to think that if I never shared my writing with anyone, then my writing would never get judged.
A logical assumption—but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Reasons Not To Finish
I have several folders on my laptop filled with partially finished short stories and novels.
Some of these stories are unfinished because I lost interest, or because I wanted to work on other projects first, but most of the stories remained unfinished because I didn’t want to show them to anyone.
Well, I knew the stories weren’t good enough to share with anyone—so why would I take the time to finish them?
My Own Worst Enemy
But that raises an important question…how could I decide whether or not my stories were good enough?
The stories were safely tucked away in their obscure folders in the corner of my desktop—away from prying eyes. And I wasn’t sharing those stories with anyone, so it’s not like people were reading them and telling me that they weren’t good.
In the end, I had made that decision for myself.
I was judging my own writing.
I was my own worst fear.
Facing The Mirror
Recently, I’ve been revising a novella that I intend to publish. I’ve almost finished the third (and hopefully final) round of revisions, but I still find myself second-guessing whether or not I really want people to read it.
Not only do I judge my writing, but I judge it harder than anyone else would. I don’t automatically try to look for the good in it—like I would if I was reading someone else’s writing. Instead, I pick it apart, unable to look at it objectively.
Despite the fact that I’m scared of someone treating my writing like it’s trash, I treat my writing like trash.
Cruel In Advance
After thinking about it for a while, I figured out the answer. If I’m cruel enough when I judge my own writing, then maybe I’ll be able to handle someone else’s judgment, and I won’t have to worry about getting hurt.
The problem is that I already am hurt—because I, as my own worst critic, hurt myself.
I instilled a belief into my mind that whatever I wrote had to be perfect. That anything less wasn’t worth publishing.
Now, it’s harder for me to want to share or even like my writing.
I don’t want to live with an unreasonable inner critic. I want to see my writing without any biases—to be fair and objective. To do that, I’ll have to break down all the lies I’ve told myself over the years—not just about my writing, but about my life.
Perfectionism needs to go.
It’s time to think differently.
It’s time to write without fear.
Before You Go…
Have you ever been your own worst critic? In what ways has it affected your life and what you do?
Read last week’s blog here!
Looking For More Inspiration?
I have a gift for you! Subscribe to my newsletter to receive a free book of 50 fantasy dialogue prompts!
Wow Thirzah, I feel like this lesson can also be applied to so many parts of life. It made me realize how often I am my own worst critic.
Also, few years ago one of our donors was praying with us and they said The Company would become “a place of writing without fear.” I was reminded of that as I read through this post.
Thanks for sharing!!
I feel pretty confident in the things that I know, but there’s always that elusive, “I don’t know what I don’t know” that makes me feel hesitant about accurately ranking my ability. As if I don’t know the 20% of obscure abilities, I can’t declare myself as competent in the 80% that I do well. We are, truely, our own worst enemies.