Learning to Love Your Own Work

It is a ethic of good writers to read other writers. If you want to see your own work to improve then it is often necessary to step outside of your own experience. This is something that even I still struggle with particularly when my own experience has seemingly run out of gas. It’s hard to pick up a book or read someone else’s blog post while your own writing is slow to get started. It can become even more difficult to get going if you feel that your own work pales in comparison to the work of other writers. While it is good to humbled by the knowledge that your writing isn’t the best thing written, it can detrimental to take a negative view of your own work.

To be a writer is to own what you’ve written.

Unless you’re a full time ghost writer then the only path that’s open to you is to accept the things you’ve written. It isn’t a bad thing to think that your writing can be better than it is. A healthy obsession with improvement is something a lot of writers could benefit from. Where we can run into trouble is when we start unfairly comparing our own work to someone who’s work gets more attention than our own. Austin Kleon’s newspaper blackouts are simple, ingenious and definitely get way more attention than my micro poetry on Instagram, but I don’t put my writing on pause just because of that. On the contrary I’m grateful because his work has given me something to work towards.

A healthy obsession with improvement is something a lot of writers could benefit from.

I’ve had to learn to love the things I’ve written; they’ve kept me honest about my abilities as a writer and are a marker from which I can grow. It does no good to feel shame about the level of your own writing. The only thing you can do is find in yourself the room to keep growing. This is why it is important to read the experiences of others; its like opening the front door after being inside for a really long time. Our imagination can either be a unexpected path or an infinity loop. When it becomes a loop then its time to look elsewhere.

Learn to love your work because it is possible that no one else will. As writers we don’t really have control over whether people will love the things we write. We can control how it is presented to them, but whether they will love it or not is up to them. This is why it is increasingly important that we take ownership of our work and appreciate no matter how good or bad we think it is.

-Stefon Napier

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