I have a confession to make: I like the stories I’ve written; the short stories for my current project, my random drabbles, the novel I’m working on, pieces I’ve written for writing challenges. I find myself smiling, laughing, feeling giddy, content, and sad when reading them. I enjoy reading them.
Do I think they’re perfect and don’t need any more work?
Just because they’re not perfect, just because they could do with more editing, more revising, more work, doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy them, or that I should hate them. I’ve noticed that there’s a trend of always hating what you’ve written, never being content with it, and never admitting to liking your own work. Why is this? It doesn’t make any sense to me not to love your own work – it’s yours, you created it all by yourself. It is the product of your time, effort and imagination. It’s your creation – why would you hate it?
What we need to be doing is evaluating our writing critically – yes I enjoy reading what I’ve written, but for the pieces I want to expand on or do more with, I’m always thinking, ‘How can I improve it? How can I make it even more enjoyable to read?’ Even with old pieces of writing that I find absolutely cringe-worthy, I read over them, searching for something that I like, something that reminds me why I was excited to write it in the first place.
Here an example: when I was a teenager I wrote a short story about two teenage boys who hated each other and who ended up sharing a moment on a school roof. I was pretty heavily involved in fanfiction at the time – a lot of Drarry and anime stuff – and so the story was full of descriptions of ‘cobalt orbs’ and ‘aching souls twirling amongst the fiery, uncaring stars’. There was a lot of wondering about the point of life, a lot of weird sexual tension, and of course kissing. I read it a few months ago, years after I’d first written it, and absolutely CRINGED and laughed hysterically at just how bad some of the descriptions were. However, I still liked the core concept of these two men sharing a moment that may or may not be romantic, on a roof. So I took that and rewrote the entire piece, creating a story that I was much happier with. (if you’re interested you can read it here).
I recently read an article entitled ‘Why Your First Draft Isn’t Crap’ – I found it very inspiring and uplifting. I think it’s incredibly important to understand that even when your writing isn’t perfect, even when it needs a crap-tonne of revision and editing to get it to where you want it to be, you should still love it and still be proud of what you created.