Why do writers do this?

English: Roller coaster in Xetululu, Guatemala

English: Roller coaster in Xetululu, Guatemala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During a recent conversation with an author-friend, the topic turned to how we’re doing with our current projects and deadlines and whatnot. I told her I’m riding the roller coaster of having turned in my manuscript and now waiting for notes from my editor. One moment I’m downright giddy with what I’ve created, and the next I’m certain it’s the crappiest thing ever written in the history of the universe.

She said she’s intimately acquainted with that roller coaster, too. And then she asked an interesting question.

Why are we writers so quick to doubt and judge our own work?

She told me a similar story of feeling inadequate after her first book came out. How her mind convinced her it wasn’t as good as she’d hoped it would be, and certainly couldn’t be as good as the other books that came out around the same time. Instead of celebrating the fact her book was out in the world and people were reading it, she immediately moved to doubt and self-judgment.

Why do we do this? Why do we pick on our own most vulnerable spots when something good happens?

I don’t know the answer. Do you?