We are our own worst critic by Dennis Scheel


During our writing escapades, we often encounter criticism from friends, and even worse, from reviewers. That criticism can encapsulate everything from a scene to characters to our writing style itself. You may encounter some bitter individuals who just want to attack your work for no clear reason. I encountered this once, where someone first submitted a five-star review of my book, only to change it to one star… but what can you do? You may have heard writers say that you haven’t ‘made it as a writer’ until your first one-star review. Well, I experienced this early on (heh). The worst thing you can do is reply to it!

Criticism from others hurts, but they will never reach the level of the worst critic; yourself. You may reflect on what others said about your own hard work and wonder; is it good enough? Are they right? Nothing will ever get more debilitating than your own self-doubt and, at worst, it can mean a loss in focus or faith in your work.

But how do I solve this? That’s the million-dollar question, which doesn’t hold just one answer. Each person has different versions that may work for them, but here are a few possible solutions:

  • A good first step is to re-read what you’ve written; what work of yours first convinced you that you had a talent?
  • Another way is to find those things that originally inspired you to start out. Finding the joy, you once had when you sat down with some tea/ coffee, your cat, or whatever else was part of your writing (or pre-writing) routine.
  • If neither works, you are not doomed yet, you can try to find inspiration by means of reading other great works or through examining what made you think that you aren’t good. You used to think you were good at writing; what changed that?
  • To reconnect with your writing, it may help to find some keepsake that you associate with your world or characters and see if this helps or attempt to write something completely different. You can fall back on something you enjoy like a fanfic you’ve wanted to try or attempt some prompts such as ‘describe a house in as much detail as you can.’ Just don’t let your skills get rusty, or it’ll compound your negativity.

No one will know your stories as well as you. You started them and only you can finish them. Rediscover what you liked about writing and get, well… writing.

Author Bio:

Dennis Scheel has always had stories running in his head but was unable to tell them until after his accident, which left him mute and paralyzed on his right side. After he worked his way back through recovery, he wanted to try to tell his story once more after an acquaintance told him he was talented at writing poetry. Prior to that, his ex had convinced him not to write for ten years by insisting that he had no aptitude for writing. This time, Dennis tried writing his stories in English for the first time. Finally, he succeeded, and has never stopped writing since. The effort has produced three stellar novels:

No Way Back- The Underworlds

Taken With a Dark Desire: The Underworlds

Rejecting Destiny: The Underworlds

More about Dennis Scheel, go to:

One Comment on “We are our own worst critic by Dennis Scheel

  1. As usual, this writer gives excellent guidelines. Every writer will necessarily get some not-so-good reviews, and an expected amount of those simply means the particular writing just wasn’t something the reviewer normally likes. I would add to Mr. Scheel’s analysis that it’s worth looking at bad reviews to pick out the critical parts that are true. There will be some, even for the best of us Tom Clancys. These critiques are the prompts to think about for the next book. And by all means send out that next book to the same reviewer, if possible!

    Liked by 1 person

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