How To Get Away with Loathing Your Own Writing

Is it just me, or does anyone else absolutely hate the way they write?

It’s kind of like hearing your own voice for the first time. When you speak and you hear your voice coming out of your mouth, you start thinking that it sounds a certain way. It’s all a lie though. When you hear your voice in a recording, it sounds completely different.

Side note: I hate the sound of my voice. I think it sounds murky and dumb. I sound like I have marbles stuck in my cheeks 24/7.

The same concept applies to writing. When you first spill your words onto a page, it feels fantastic. The fast, free-flowing quality of writing contributes to this sensation. As your words fall into place, why shouldn’t you think that they make perfect sense?

Then comes the time when you reread what you’ve written, and gasp, it’s a nightmare! It’s like cringing yourself to death. Your sentences sound stupid, your word choice is lame, and your voice sounds whiny and immature.

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I’ve felt this way. (Well, actually, I can begin to tell you, technically speaking. That’s what this post is about. Telling you guys how much I hate my writing.)

I’m a fairly neurotic proofreader, so I reread everything I write in order to catch my mistakes. Catch these mistakes I do, and I also catch sight of my godawful, crappy writing.

And the truly sucky thing is that no matter how many times I revise a piece, I am never satisfied with the end result. I can only ever be marginally okay with what I get.

My sister is the one person who bolsters my spirits when it comes to my writing. She is my self-confidence.

Side note: She was pissed when she found out I named my blog The Below Average Blog. I thought that was a neat and unassuming name for something as potentially pretentious as a blog. She thought I was being down on myself for no reason.

But I have come to accept the fact that disliking my writing is a bit of a boon to me. I’ve said it countless times (to myself, in my head, and maybe on this blog a few times). Hating my writing pushes me to try and improve it (key word being “try”).

So if you, too, hate the way you write, just remember two things:

1) Your writing probably isn’t as bad as you think it is. Your self-loathing and self-deprecatory nature just makes anything that comes out of you look terrible. Odds are, given how many people exist on our planet, someone could read your writing and like it.

2) Hating your writing should only make it better. Unless you start spiraling into a depression. Though I have learned from books and TV shows that writers being depressed and alcoholics is a common enough thing, so at least you won’t be alone.

Then again, I’m a nobody writer with zero credentials to my name and therefore absolutely no credibility when it comes to giving writing advice, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me.

Only Cool Kids Edit

I know a lot of writers.

Scratch that. I know a lot of people who call themselves writers.

And one thing I’ve noticed that really burns my bum is the fact that they don’t edit their work.

They think that as soon as they’ve committed a word to a page, it’s golden and perfect.


Just no.

Anyone who loves to write with a true passion knows that writing is mutable. Your words, your phrasing, can and will change. They have to.

Writing is half creation, half revision.

I’ll admit, I’m kind of talking out of my own ass here. I’m only a semi-published freelance writer who knows less than Jon Snow, but I’m also talking from the perspective of a proofreader. I have proofread and edited more written works than I’ve got years on my life. Hell, even this blog here gets proofread more than it deserves.

So I hate it when someone writes a piece and then takes pride in how little they had to edit it. I want to grab them, shake them, and scream in their faces, “That’s not a badge of honor! That’s a warning sign!”

Even more than writing words, editing those words is the most important part of the writing process. I say/write that with the assumption that you are writing things for someone else to read. You edit your words for your readers. You should always think to yourself, ‘What sounds better when I say it out loud? Does this make any sense? Is any of this intelligible? Could this be better?’

My favorite kinds of writers are those who question themselves constantly. Any person who writes something, frowns in dismay after reading it, and whose first impulse is to throw it in the trash, is a friend of mine.

It’s not just a quality I admire in writers. It’s a quality I admire in people. The desire to constantly improve is praiseworthy. (Plus, self-deprecating humor is the best.)

So to any aspiring writers who are reading this, always try to edit your work. Actively search for aspects to improve. Writing is a climb, and you always want to be moving upwards.

Editing can be as basic as just re-reading things you’ve already written. I’ve proofread so many academic essays where I know in my gut the kids just typed it, printed it, and then submitted it. You’d be surprised how much a simple read-through could help your writing.

For me, editing takes multiple stages, but each stage can be boiled down to two types of editing: big and small.

Big editing is looking to change the meaning and structure of an entire piece. For instance, if I was writing a novel, a big edit would be adjusting some plot points or moving around chapters to better suit the flow.

Small editing brings my focus down to individual sentences. Could something be phrased better? Is a word sticking in my craw whenever I read the sentence out loud? I think about the minutiae when I do my small editing.

I do my editing best when it is on paper in front of me. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of editing on a computer screen, which is a shame because that’s definitely the norm nowadays. Reading my words out loud always helps too.

Editing is not fun. No one in the history of ever has said that editing is fun. But it is necessary, and there is nothing like the feeling of finishing up some much-needed proofing.

Of course, if you’re doing it right, you always kind of feel like just a little more should be done. So if you think about it, you never feel as if you’re finished.

Hey, no one ever said writing was easy either.