If you’re creative at all, you’re well familiar with the feeling of hating your own work. At some point you’ll be 100% convinced that everything you’ve done is garbage. It’s not a fun way to feel. It’s also probably not accurate. More importantly, just because you hate your work doesn’t mean anyone else does, or will. Need proof? Here are some famous writers who hated their own work…
Anthony Burgess regretted A Clockwork Orange, claiming the misinterpretation of it (partly from the way it was presented in the film) would “pursue me until I die.” He also called it his “little squib of a book” in his introduction to a later edition.
Stephen King thought his book Carrie was such a waste of time that he threw the manuscript away. His wife fished it out of the trash and encouraged him to keep trying.
Leo Tolstoy ended his life regretting and being ashamed of having written both War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy scholar Pavel Basinsky claims that renouncing everything you’ve previously accomplished is the Russian way. It might also be the writer’s way.
Speaking of Russian writers, Vladimir Nabokov got so disgusted with Lolita that at one point as he was working on it, he fed the pages into a fire. His wife, Vera, saved as much as she could and Nabokov ended up completing the novel.
Peter Benchley so regretted the paranoia caused toward sharks by his novel Jaws that he became a shark conservationist. He claimed in an interview that he could never write a book like that again, having learned about what sharks are really like. Maybe hating your own work isn’t always a bad thing.
How do you cope when you hate your work? Share in the comments…
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Aspasía S. Bissas