How do you know your writing is good?
A straight forward question and yet I imagine like a lot of bloggers and unpublished writers there isn’t that feedback loop of royalties letting you know that at least someone thinks you write well. My only but hugely appreciated readers so far are friends, family and online personas.
As a writer it’s imperative to feel out whether you have written work that deserves eyes to see it, or if it’s best kept for self amusement.
The trouble with all of the aforementioned critics is they are all biased. Apart from my Dad, who will happily go to town with the red font on a Word document I’ve sent him. Friends and family generally don’t give feedback beyond “That was really good”. If you’re anything like me you want something extra beyond a “good” – a sign they’ve noticed that line you egotistically love every time you reread a story. A hint of the underlying mechanics, anything really.
I’m not saying feedback isn’t positively received, I just mean that generally, readers as opposed to writers don’t tend to venture beyond “That was really great”.
So, it’s a peculiar microcosm to be in as a writer. Generally you know yourself if something is good, but again there’s the bias to maintain self-esteem, like friends and family do. The performance criterion you set yourself clearly impacts on your output. Yet we never truly know the worth of our writing. Even when 10 publishing houses reject a manuscript – does that mean it’s shit? No.
I think we are tortured a bit by this lack of knowing, of total reassurance. Maybe it’s a creative trait. Maybe that’s why novellists to artists throw things out, burn them and leave them to rot.
What’s your measuring stick?