Why It’s OK To Be Negative About Your Writing

By on March 20, 2019
Why It's OK To Be Negative About Your Writing - Writer's Life.org

We’re all told how important it is to try to stay positive about our writing. How we must silence that evil inner critic that tells us we are no good. How we must pick ourselves up immediately after a rejection and be pleased to be part of the ‘club.’ How a negative review is great as ‘at least it moved someone enough to say something about your work.’

What’s strange about this though, is that it goes against another very solid and tried and tested piece of advice which is to allow yourself to, you know, actually feel your emotions. That bottling up anger, frustration, upset, disappointment, fear and so on can do more damage than good.

If we spend so much time battling with our negative emotions about writing, rather than just allowing ourselves to feel them, perhaps we are doing ourselves a disservice. Instead, maybe we should embrace the negativity, here's why:

You can use that emotion

Trying to stay positive all the time is pretty draining, and unrealistic too. Instead, get right into your funk, explore the way that you feel and use that sadness, fury, jealousy, etc. to write about that emotion in a realistic and captivating way.

Perhaps it's much better to feel it, acknowledge it, deal with it and move on.

The truth is that we can spend so much time trying not to be negative about our writing, so much effort ‘training’ ourselves to be positive, that we can end up wasting a lot of it, and can also end up feeling more guilty when a negative emotion slips through the net! If we just recognize the way we are feeling, have a cry, a yell, a moan, then we might get it out of our systems and be better able to move on and get on with what matters.

Being hard on yourself makes your writing better

This may be controversial, but what’s wrong with a bit of tough self-love from time to time? Is it actually that helpful to keep telling ourselves we’re the best writer ever when perhaps we’re not? Being critical of your writing can help you recognize when you aren’t doing an outstanding job and can help you become more dedicated to making it better, now what’s wrong with that?

It keeps your head screwed on

The writing world can be a little bizarre at times. Allowing yourself to be negative, to have bad days, is okay. Acknowledging that sometimes everything is unfair, to be jealous of other authors success and so on - it all just makes you human and remembering that you are indeed human can help you on those days where you spend 12 hours locked in your basement writing about something weird and wonderful, hilarious, depressing, or heartbreaking. Also, let’s face it, no one likes arrogance, and so being self-deprecating (though tedious at times) will probably be better received at dinner parties than the person that can’t stop talking about how talented they are.

Remember, everyone feels bad about their writing from time to time, and while it is important to recognize when that negativity is taking over and stopping you from being the productive, prolific writer you are meant to be, it’s OK to indulge and wallow in it from time to time. So next time you are feeling negative about your writing, don’t fight it, go with it - it might make things better!

bethany cadman

Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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