Sunday, April 22, 2007

What if I'm a Sanjaya and I just don't know it?

Forgive the pop culture reference. I've been thinking about the need for critiques, outside eyes and even writing classes (something I've often been ambivalent about). Writers, indeed, any artist, must be able to gauge if their work is quality work, but we often don't feel able to trust ourselves or those close to us. We ask ourselves, "What if I'm producing garbage and I'm just unable to recognize it?" On the other hand, we have to develop a certain amount of steely confidence in order to survive the inevitable rejections and dismissals that come with seeking an audience for our work.

In the process of developing a tough skin, do we run the risk of building a wall so strong that valid criticism cannot enter?


  1. To my mind, the very fact that you ask yourself if your work isn't any good, and you seek out as many opinions as you can find, says that you have nothing to worry about.

    Ed Wood always thought his stuff was wonderful. :-)

  2. I'm reminded of a story about Charlie Chaplin at a premiere for one of his movies. He grumbled all the way there. He already knew his movie was fine, he insisted. He didn't care what audiences think. When the film was done, and he received a huge standing ovation, he finally sighed, "I do care."

    It seems like the only way to get through the uncertainty or the pressure. Fake it till you make it, as the twelve-steppers say.

    The real trick seems to be to ignore your own PR, not to believe your own sales pitch. That's a nice little tightrope we have to walk on.

    (And sorry for the long absence. Work, work, work. Sniff, cough. Lather, rinse, repeat.)


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