I was talking to another writer a couple of weeks ago and we were moaning about how neither of us had any real idea if what we were writing was any good or not. He said that he had 'no sense of the piece' (because he's all intellectual and that), while I said that I did: it was all crap.

Does anyone else have difficulty knowing if what they're writing is any good or not? Or are we all dribbling, insecure self-loathing weasels with 'no sense of the piece'?

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I think if I was every truly happy about something I'd written then what would drive me to make it better? If it doesn't suck it doesn't need the extra effort. And if it doesn't get the extra effort, it's a lot more likely to suck.

Glad you liked the book though Pat.

I'll try not to self-flagellate too much: don't want to go blind, after all...

Stravinsky called the artist's dissatisfaction with his or her work "divine discontent" and suggested no artist is ever truly happy with what they produce.

Unfortunately, hacks like me are never happy either, allowing us to remain deluded that by sheer luck and persistence we might actually produce a line or two that's worthwhile.

That not true, of course, but it is some comfort.
It depends entirely on the day and what's been happening. Left to myself after finishing a book, I may have moments when I picture it going to auction. When the first rejection arrives, I consider myself a total failure as a writer.
On the other hand, for the books that have sold and gone through revision, copy-editing, and galleys: for those I know exactly what parts are good and what other parts just passable.


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