Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shouldn't you like your own work?

Seen on Twitter: Only bad writers think that their work is really good. --Anne Enright

I’ve seen this opinion viraling around lately, as if it were wise, and it troubles me. It seems to say that if you’re happy with anything you submit for publication, if you enjoy reading it and don’t want to gag when you open it two years later, you’re not really any good. You’re just kidding yourself. That doesn’t seem right, or fair. Yes, you sometimes have to murder your darlings, but that’s not to say that every line you love is a bad one. How could that possibly be?

Well, ok, some people, yes. But otherwise... Do good writers not think they're any good? Please.

Say rather, only bad writers think their work needs no editing. Uncritical self-love is foolish if in your writing you hope to actually communicate with other people. Perpetual self-loathing doesn't get you anywhere either.


  1. I agree, Maggie. I think its counterproductive to tell people that if they like what they've created, what they've created is crap. What a gigantic mind-f**k! I am an extremely demanding READER--if what I write doesn't hold up to my own criteria, I re-write it until it does.

  2. Well there you have it! Why would you even submit something you didn't think was any good? Yet I see people eating up this comment, and Retweeting it everywhere. Thanks for the support!