Response to Slight Dis-satisfaction

Thank you to Christina Katz for the emails for prosperous writers that force me to take a deeper look into my writing. Writers can find her site here. I agree that we should strive to make our work the best. And the little annoyances, when fixed and resolved, can make our work great.

I’m beyond dissatisfied; I’m a perfectionist. It’s better to be “slightly dis-satisfied” because you can continue to write the next chapter without going over the first chapter 1000 times to make sure it’s perfect. I have trouble using the word “dissatisfied” when it comes to my writing. Even though the outcome is positive, dissatisfied is unhappy, displeased, discontented. No matter how you use it, I think it automatically has a negative connotation. My goal: to be aware and alert to the mistakes (as you say, a little dissatisfied) without being the extreme perfectionist that needs everything to fit and make sense immediately.

“So long as your criticism of your own work is geared toward the constructive…”

That’s where I need work. I can criticize myself a little too much—taking the extreme and re-writing several times instead of completing the chapter and seeing where it goes. I think blogging helps me to be dissatisfied. I can write what I’m feeling, look over it once…or twice, and send it out to the world. With each blog post, I am a little more confident. I can allow a few mistakes because I can always be dissatisfied later, go back to the blog and edit it.

While the focus on improving your own writing is important, it doesn’t hurt to be a little dissatisfied with other people’s work too. I’m not telling writers to get out the red pen, but when you look at any writing with the writer’s eye, you can catch other’s mistakes so you don’t make them yourself. What would you do to make the piece better? How could you incorporate that into your own writing?  Maybe an article you read is too wordy with a lack of focus. You could go through that chapter you’re working on and check for wordiness you missed. Or reread and check to see that you are focused and on track.

Mistakes are little reminders that tell us to do a self-check. Am I staying consistent to the story? Check. Did I cut down on the passive voice? Check. Am I being critical without being a perfectionist…? In progress.

If you can find a balance, without being too critical or judgmental, I believe your writing can only improve.

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