How can I tell if my writing is any good?

by | Jan 23, 2024 | write club

If you’ve ever been unemployed long enough to get into Dr. Phil, you know about body dysmorphia–a social disorder that makes people obsess about a perceived physical flaw. It’s a “perceived” flaw because the flaw isn’t nearly as horrendous as the perceiver thinks.

According to Wikipedia, the most freaked-about flaw in people who have body dysmorphia is acne. Wrong again, Wikipedia. Meet my new anxiety disorder 

Writing Dysmorphia

I have no clue if my writing is any good. How does one tell? Just this week, I’ve described my writing with one or more of the following adjectives:

crisp / stilted
funny / cheesy
gripping / WTF?

You know those people on American Idol? You know the ones! So confident they’re going to blow the judges away, they open their mouths and we viewers are stuck between laughter and the immense guilt of watching someone’s genuine dreams crushed on international television for our entertainment.

What if I’m one of those people?

Perusing the web definitions of dysmorphia, I came across this tidbit:

“Body dysmorphic disorder interferes with functioning and may lead to social isolation…”

Another symptom I exhibit. While my friends hit the local hipster hangout, I lock myself in a tiny upstairs room, deleting and re-entering commas, reading aloud, pacing. I am sick, y’all.

Ira Glass may have said it best in his This American Life interview, visualized here by Daniel Sax:

Writing brethren, two of my writer friends tell me that writing dysmorphia is rampant. They say everyone has it. Is this true?

Do you have writing dysmorphia? Have you any idea whether your writing is good, bad, or fugly? How do you gain this objectivity? Or perhaps, as I suspect, we never do close the gap completely. 
Do you feel the pull to create and the agony of good taste? What do you long to create? And what stops you from closing the gap? Tell me about it. Seriously. I want to know. 


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