inspiration, Writing

It’s okay to think your writing sucks

Three things made me feel a lot better about my tendency to think that I suck this week.

At the weekend, my agent organised drinks for a bunch of her clients in London. This was my first time meeting a group of writers in the real world. The experience matched up to the interactions I’ve had with writers online – we are a self-deprecating bunch. Everyone was really humble about their work despite clearly being talented and having the books deals to prove it. I am definitely my own worst critic when it comes to my writing so I was relieved that I’m far from being alone in this.

A quote was then circulated on Twitter by author Victoria Scott that confirmed to me that it’s okay to hate on your own writing.

If you think your book is perfect, you’ll never be published. If you think it’s a shit bomb, you may have what it takes -Anonymous

This is excellent news for me. When I read over my writing occasionally I can catch a good sentence but mostly I just stress about how it’s just not good enough. I think it’s really difficult to be objective about your own work. It seems that writers by nature can’t judge themselves. I am super grateful for my crit partner and agent who can help me see my own work more clearly and hopefully one day I’ll have an editor who will do the same.

The final boost for me was this image circulated on Facebook by author Michelle Madow:

This made me laugh out loud. If these are the search terms that come up when you talk about writers then I’m actually doing okay!

So any writers reading this – you have permission to be down on your work and to have I suck days too because it seems we’re all in the same boat. And it’s a very pretty boat. Just don’t open that bottle of wine while you’re in such a mood and become a Google search term πŸ™‚

*group writer hug*



36 thoughts on “It’s okay to think your writing sucks”

  1. Love this Victoria. This goes along with my thinking process when it comes to self-publishing, as people have been pushing me to do that lately. It’s not that I am against self-publishing, but I’ve read a lot of books lately that were self-published and would have been so much stronger if they had a second or third eye to help them work through the flaws. (Hence back to my long ago dream of creating a circle to help each other, but . . . ) Anyway, I digress. some of the authors who self publish, it seems, think their work is always perfect and it rarely is.

    How cool that you are now being invited into gatherings of the inner circle . . . writers. Wow!


    1. Thanks Lisa! I know what you mean, I’d be terrified to self publish and not know for sure if it’s any good. Then again one of my favourite books of 2012 was Easy, which was self published (and soon to be traditionally published) so it can work.

  2. Gosh, these people! That search result is hilarious. I love reading your blog posts. I read over my writing (now my published book (muhahaha)) and think why have I written this? Just today as my first day as a published author, I thought, “Why have I published this crap!?”

    That anonymous quoter is on-track, though. You can’t improve if you don’t see your faults.

  3. So true!! I even obsess over my little blog posts. Sometimes I sit there thinking how can I say this in a diffeent way or use a more expressive word, and then I readi it back and notice I have been trying way too hard…and it Sometimes it is better just to let the writing flow and turn down the (self) critisism button…

  4. Victoria, you’re not alone in this. I’ve been editing my MS and I keep on stumbling across sections that are just not right. I know it’s getting there and it does help having a fantastic editor who can see the flaws and help me fix them but that doesn’t say that I don’t get anxiety over it. Like the opening paragraph in chapter 1, I’m going to rework it but every time I go to do it I just stare at it.

    Thanks for the *group writer hug*. Right back at ya! XX

  5. Ahaha, love the image. We writers are truly a depressed bunch. And I like the quote too – chances are if you are your worst critic, you’ll try hard enough to produce the best book there is, unlike those who are so full of themselves they fail to see an error even if it’s shouting in their faces.

  6. This is a nice post to read right now, as I’m got the post-NaNoWriMo feeling that I’ve just spent a month writing rubbish! It’s good to have the reminder that we all feel like that sometimes.

    I love the image above, but the one that made me laugh out loud was “Why are writers crazy?” LOL what a question! (No idea what the answer is, though…)

  7. Oh gosh, Victoria–this is so true for me as well. I am usually down on my writing, and I don’t often find wonderful stuff when I read it back. I love knowing other writers suffer from the same malady. Inspirational examples, thanks!

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