I am a self-professed scribbler for self gratification. I like to write to please myself and, being a contrary creature, I always end up never being pleased with the ends results.
As a great person once said: Am I happy? I am an artist. I am never happy.
I have no idea who said that or if I just made it up. Either way, it is true.
The self critic is never going to be happy. So what do you do? You give it to others for them to have a read.
The bias that exists from those who love you is palpable though, isn’t it? It harks back to yesteryear when you would proudly present a parent with a finger painting you made at nursery. Despite the incoherency of the piece (and the bit of dinner that plopped onto it whilst you ate and painted), they would enthuse about it and hail it a masterpiece.
The same thing goes for being an old and curmudgeonly writer like me. I present my dear husband with something of my ravings and he reads, patiently, before delivering his verdict.
Sometimes he is honest – a bit meandering here, a bit too random there, but over all, he laps it up.
I just don’t know what to believe. Is he being honest? As my long suffering other half, he has the ability to see only but the good in me and will therefore pick it out of my work. He also, quite wrongly, believes himself to be somehow creatively and intellectually inferior to me. Which is insane. We met at University!
Yet, I always wish he’d be more confident in his commentary. I will present him with something with a glaring mistake in and he’ll gloss over it.
Is there anything wrong with this though? It might present you with a slightly skewed version of reality when it comes to your work, but is that too much of a bad thing? I help younger writers with little more than confidence in the end and I doubt I am any different.
It’s nice to have someone believing in you, whether you believe in yourself or not.
I don’t care if I never get published. Why would I, when the only person I would want at my book signing, copy in hand, is my scrumptious husband?
It can get frustrating when people who love you big-up your work and your own gnawing self-doubt contradicts them at every turn, but it helps. It’s wonderful. It keeps you going more than the prospect of any book deal, professional exposure or massively huge and positive critical reception. It’s for the love of the few that I write and for me, it’s what I find the most rewarding part.