Why we hate our work sometimes…

I go though a cycle of love and hate with my work. Mostly with my stories if I end up hating one, then there is a high chance it’s a pretty good story. Let me tell you how I discovered that.

Several years ago when I was taking creative writing courses in collage, I had an instructor that wanted us to write in reality. Of course me being me I asked a bunch of questions to see where my line was because I’m not the type of story teller that can tell a reality based story. He laughed and said, “I’m not letting you slide by this one. You have to write a reality based story.” He knew my work was very fantasy so it was a new challenge for me.

At the same time, he told us he hated the phrase “Made love” so I got together with another student and we were going to tile our stories “Made Love” just for kicks and giggles to see his reaction. (And this is important to the story I’m telling here by the way. Trust me.)

So after a long night of thinking on how I was going to write a reality based story, I got the idea to write a character who was in an insane asylum so I could write what ever I want and not worry about if I’m going to far beyond the reality line my teacher had set. The story was going pretty well. I had this awesome character who cursed a lot and said what she thought and she was talking to something that supposedly wasn’t there. Of course me knowing this character pretty well, I knew better. Then I got to the ending.

I hated that story from the time I ended until the time I got to my critique session later that week. I couldn’t get it to end write. I didn’t fell like it was up the standards that I had set. The character, Alice, was to much for a school environment with her cursing every five words and rather free speech and I worried she was going to get me in trouble since I’m the one that created her.

I got into my critique session and I said those same things and several laughed and asked me what I was talking about. Turns out everyone loved that story, my teacher especially because I had named it Made Love. The other student chose to back out of our plan so I was the only one who dared to write something like that with such intensity in language. They enjoyed Alice’s rather free speech and cursing so much that someone counted how many time she F-bombed and it was well over 90 in a 20 page story lol.

And that’s where I learned that, some times the things you hate are better then what you give them credit for. Since then I have hated many of my stories and have tabled them for a later date. I come back to them and love them again.

It was the same for the mystic horse I drew for Collab Lab. This is the first time I’ve hated one of my own artworks. I usually find a way to improve it after a while but this one I didn’t.

Today I look at it and I see potential. I like how I used the dark colors to balance the light. It makes the head stand out towards the bottom where the mane comes down but it also gives that hair affect too. If I were to redo this, I’d try it with that technique in mind.

The thing to take away from this story is that just because you hate your work doesn’t mean it’s terrible. Do what Rafi does and sit with it for a while. That’s something I need to learn before I got ranting on that I hate it. What I can tell you is that after a while of  not looking at the piece or even just hearing feedback from other’s on it, you’ll slowly realize that your piece had more potential then you gave it credit for. You’ll see all the things you did right or started to do right but there is room for improvement. It just takes a clear head and a days worth of rest (maybe longer).

To this day, Alice is still one of my more beloved character’s when I pull her out of my universe box to play. She puts a new spin on freedom I think which is nice. She has the ability to say things that you would never hear me say… well I might curse a little which is where she gets it from lol.

  • Liath LaVerne Hawke


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