“…some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”- T. S. Eliot
I haven’t taken an official or scientific poll, but if it’s even partially true that we are our own worst critic then in my estimation it’s even more the case with the critique of our own creative expressions. The reasonable, rational appraisal of ones own work is as failed a charge as is writing. Why? I suggest the following two reasons:
The way the writer often approaches the critique of his own work: comparison to that of another (or others) more accomplished (whether perceived or realized) than he.
The task of selecting and arranging the proper words to accurately convey the writer’s thoughts is daunting but of utmost importance!
On Point One: I am not adept at sketching or painting, but I wonder if the famed “tortured soul” that frames the life of the artist is, in part, this skewed perception and continual self-judgement of his work and (ultimately) its reflection on his ability. He may copy technique, utilize similar materials and focus on the same subjects as another, but his creation is his alone. I may copy certain writing styles for specific effect. I may model myself after select authors who have affected me. Ultimately, however, it’s the unique nuances (whatever their worth) which come with being me that mark my work as mine.
On Point Two: This post is an anthem (or perhaps anathema?!?) to point two…350 or so words,
several scores of which I’ve changed or edited multiple times to the profit of hope that the intended message is conveyed. The verdict on my skill as a wordsmith may still be out (provided it has ever been a notion worth consideration), but I am learning that while the pursuit of narrative perfection is a worthy one, being confident that the intended message is communicated adequately, accurately and appropriately is of greater import.
In short, finished doesn’t necessarily equate perfected. If the critique centers on what I wrote, so be it. If on how I wrote, I have but one response: What I have written, I have written.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)