The Non-Literal Act of Self-flagellation

The act of severely criticizing oneself can be, and often is, part of the writing life. The road to publication includes enough criticism of our work from other people. And yet, frequently, we are our own worst critic.

Self-flagellation can be the voice inside our head telling us we suck, that our writing sucks and that we will never get published because of how much we suck. It can migrate to bringing up personal failures like rejection, the inability to finish what we started writing, taking too long at what we’re trying to accomplish or even telling ourselves to give it up, since clearly we’re just a fraud with big dreams that are never going anywhere.

This type of behavior is truly counter productive and can hinder us even further from achieving our goals. Yes, making an effort and actually writing is the only way to finish a book and move forward in the quest to get published. Punishing ourselves for lagging behind in our goals won’t help us get there faster.

A very wise advice columnist once wrote that if we feel we must be punished, then ten lashes with a wet noodle should be enough to appease our guilt. After that, it’s more important to put our guilt behind us, and to move forward.

Remember: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill