From the deepest depths of the archives of Neil Gaiman’s blog comes…your inspirational thought for the day. Or at least, your dose of reality. Meanwhile, I shall go write. Enjoy.
I got a question for you, how do you become friends with what you’ve written? Perfectionism is hard to overcome, well for me anyway, and I always see the flaws, the clumsyness and that sort of thing. Even when people who I trust in having an as objective opinion as possible say that they like it I don’t trust them. Not because I lack self-confidence, there are things I’ve written that I genuinly love, it’s just…When you see the flaws in something it’s hard to love it, if it’s your own work. I’m fine with it in other peoples work. So, am I making sense? Do you have this problem? And is there anything I can do to make it go away?
Well, it’s hard to be a fan of your own work (I’m not a fan of my writing). You’ll always see how far it was from what you had in mind when you sat down to write. (The only thing that seems to fix that is time. But time still won’t make you a fan of what you’ve written, and when it does — when you find yourself laughing at a joke you’ve forgotten that you wrote a long time ago — it normally just makes you worry that you used to have it but you probably don’t any more.)
If people you trust say they like it, they probably like it, but that doesn’t make you respect them any the more or like the story. (It’s one reason that editors buying stories is so important for beginning writers. Anyone can say they like it, but sending a cheque and then printing the story — that’s love.)
Also, once it’s written, the writer is just one more person with an opinion about the work. It’s certainly an informed opinion, but that doesn’t make your opinion more right than anyone else’s, I’m afraid, whether they like it or they don’t.
It’s best make art and not to worry. I’ll take the satisfaction of having built something that did what I hoped it would do over being in love with my own voice any day. It’s safer. Make good art that says sort of what you set out to say and then, when it’s good enough for jazz, go on to the next thing.