I almost wrote a post then, but I'm glad I waited - because I have so much more to say now.
Just a few minutes ago - before I rushed to my laptop to type this post - I was thinking about how many authors are known for their low self-esteem, often accompanied by a mental illness of some sort. I also thought about this quote:
"Only bad writers think that their work is really good."This quote has been a comfort to me during the times that I hate my writing. It has made my thoughts go from this is awful to but if I think that, it must be great! And, admittedly, afterwords to: But now I think it's great ... Am I a bad writer?
I have also come across it in times when I love what I write. Sometimes, I go back and read previous work. And if it's been written in the past couple of months, I usually enjoy reading it! Any further back and I cringe, aside from the odd piece here and there. But does my enjoyment of something I gave a lot of time and effort to a bad thing? Should I not feel proud, like my time was worth it?
Here is another thought I had about this quote:
Maybe, writers with bad self-esteem do have better work - because they have motivation to improve.This made sense to me, in that brief thought. If you think something is great, why should you work to make it better? Why put more effort into something that, in your eyes, has already hit its highest potential?
Personally, I believe that you stop improving the moment you think you are good enough. This could apply to anything, not just writing. If have the mindset that you are great at something, that you cannot improve, you won't.
And yet, is that really what having a good, healthy self-esteem means? Can you not think I am good at this but also I can improve this? Do those thoughts never run together?
I believe that a good self-esteem helps writers.It helps us get words onto a page - because we are not as worried about failure. It expands our ideas, because we are not so anxious about what others will think while reading. We are not constantly wondering if we are correct - not because we don't care, or are writing awful work, but because we know it can be fixed.
A writer with a good self-esteem is also more open to feedback. When you're not taking criticism personally, it's a lot easier to take good advice and use it to improve. It also makes it easier to throw away advice that doesn't work for you or your writing.
Personally, once I began feeling more confident about myself and my writing, it opened me up to so many topics I was afraid to write before. I cared less about writing things "the wrong way" and was able to focus on the stories I wanted to tell.
So, no, I don't think "only bad writers think their work is good." I think you can consider your work horrible, and still be an awful writer. And you can think your work is great, and be right.