Letting Go of the Results

I just finished a project I started 4 years ago. It’s never taken me so long to finish a book, so I have discovered whole new levels of feeling relieved with the completion of this manuscript. Several friends have asked if I’m happy with the results, and this question always makes me cringe.

I should have a good answer for it, right? I should be happy with the results.

I never am. I invariably finish writing projects with a feeling that it is most definitely the worst thing I’ve ever written, that my skills as a writer are somehow getting weaker and weaker with each word typed. I deal with this feeling by letting go of the results.

I am only responsible for the writing. I make it the best I can. I don’t try too hard to judge it though, just as a mother never looks at a new baby and thinks, oh, gosh, this one’s a little uglier than the rest.

Months or years later, after the rigors of writing the book are long past, I might be able to look back and see what was weak or strong about a given story. Or I might not. I usually don’t try. That helps me stay sane and keep writing.

How about you? Do you find yourself to be a good judge of your own work?


  1. That’s exactly why they say a writer should let a finished draft “rest” for a while, to let go of that feeling of attachment. The point of it is to look back on the work and make an objective judgement about its quality.

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