Learning to Love Your Work

It’s easy to hate your work. If I’m honest with myself, there are times when I would have strangled my work if it were personified. True story. It’s all too easy to take a smug satisfaction in looking over your work and saying, “Yeah, I always knew I was bad. This is a horrible piece of crap.” and then reward your cynicism with a Netflix episode or three hours of Fortnite.

Now, I’m not telling you to be dishonest with yourself. I’m not telling you to look over your work and be like, “Ah, but I should learn to love my work. This is good.” Don’t lie to yourself. Learn to recognize bad work, especially in yourself. Not doing so is pride, and it’s often worse than hating your work.

If this seems like a contradiction, I’ll give you an example: you love your dog, right? (Or maybe you love your cat, and hate your dog…but still) What if your dog craps in the kitchen? If you’re a good dog owner, you will recognize that the dog is being bad and therefore demands correction, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you still love your pet.

The wrong way to deal with this is to hate your dog. Correction doesn’t mean that you hate your pet, but you recognize that it is necessary. Hating your pet entails that you do not punish them, and then you stop paying attention to them, and then eventually you drown them are send them to an animal shelter, or whatever. The point is that you can’t properly take care of your dog if you hate them.

The same goes for your work. You have to call a spade a spade when it comes to poor quality work, but you can never hate your own work. Hating your work leads to not disciplining (correcting) it, which leads to poorer quality work in the future, which can lead to the ultimate demise of your writing career in general.

So, don’t hate your work. But don’t be in that not-hating-not-loving state of mind, either. You care about your dog, but you probably don’t care about your neighbor’s neighbor’s dog. You can’t be expected to pet the dog at 2:00 AM or feed it when it’s hungry. When you don’t care, you can’t be expected to be responsible.

However, you are responsible, which means you are compelled to care. The best way to care about something is to love it. Loving someone means desiring the best for them, and loving something means that you are desiring the best for it. There’s no better way to push you out of complacency and into higher levels of skill with writing is to love your work.

Love your work in spite of its flaws, not because of them. Don’t get caught up in this hippy-dippy “the flaws make the thing unique and special” crap. Poor quality work is poor quality work, and it will continue to be poor quality until you revise. Flaws in your story only make it unique and special in the same sense that the Lamborghini with more sledgehammer dents is unique and special. Don’t just “accept your work for what it is”. You can change your work, and if you think it’s lacking, then don’t hesitate to make it more excellent.

If you truly love your work, you will want to keep writing. You’ll want to make it better. You’ll jump at the opportunity to learn how to make a story better, even if you think you already know. You’ll recognize good advice and listen to it. You’ll be a better student in the craft of fictional writing.

But how to love your work? That one’s easy. Start caring. Start obsessing over the story. Express a desire to get it published. If someone you loved was sick, you wouldn’t just shrug and go watch Netflix. You’d care for them (I sure HOPE…). If your story has problems, don’t rest until they are fixed.

When you do all of this, you may begin to feel a slight pride in your work. Don’t throttle this. As a teacher takes great satisfaction in a prized pupil, take pride in your work. Write and rewrite. Don’t hesitate for the chance to have the best for your story.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

One thought on “Learning to Love Your Work

  1. I love this message. But I’m also wary of perfectionism. So I make sure to work on my drafts until I feel they’re good enough. That’s my key goal. But who knows what’s good enough in the end, since everything’s so subjective? Anyway, great food for thought here. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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