Ever the Critic

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

I find that suddenly I have become really critical of my past writings. I’m not sure if it’s just a phase or because I’m trying to write more at the moment after a long dry spell. I have even started re-reading all my blog posts which is pointless. What I wrote then I felt then so why  do I try to analyse them now?

Looking back at some short stories I’ve written, entered in competitions and had rejected, I can see why. Suddenly, I have a burning desire to re-write them or with some, just delete them forever.

Several years ago, when I lived alone, I went through a period of prolific output but now, looking back, I find that some of the stories are extremely poor. Those stories were written deep into the early hours and, at the time, the ideas and the characters which lived in my head. I thought I’d transferred onto the page. It’s only now, after re-reading them, several years later, I realise that most of them would need a big revision. Maybe that’s because my own writing has improved or perhaps it’s because I’m much more critical of my own work than I was before. It could be the latter, as many of the books I read these days, I find spelling and grammar mistakes (I know, we all make them) but worse than that I sometimes struggle with the ending and find it very contrived. To me, this is a major disappointment even when the book has been well constructed and the story has flowed and maintained my interest. It just feels like the author has given up and decided to end the story now.

Writing is a craft which needs to be learned and practised. To be constantly honed, edited and re-worked. I wonder if any of the literary giants look back at their work and feel the same.

What about you?

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