I teach creative writing for bachelor degree students. I am also a writer myself and have been struggling for years with overcoming the critical voice in my head. Each time an idea would come to me, I’d hear a voice that says it’s not original, not good, cliche, and so on.
One student in my class this past semester had a profound realization on me. He was the most confident writer I’ve ever met. He would walk into any writing assignment thinking he is just about to write the greatest masterpiece ever been written.
He would also submit it, fully confident he will wow the heck out of his classmates and me.
He also happened to be the worst writer in my class. His stories bored students to tears. They were almost unreadable.
I gave two of his pieces to a fellow writing professor and asked his opinion. He said that I should strongly advise this student to seek another profession and that he is not innately a storyteller.
It is not mine to give a career advice, but it did get me thinking of how easily that student kept producing one assignment after another, when his ignorance was a bliss, keeping him just moving the pen and not thinking for one moment that there is anything wrong with what he writes.
Still, his grades and criticism from fellow classmates were evidence to the fact that he was in fact delusional.
Which is best then? To convince ourselves we always write the best piece ever or actually listen to the inner critic?