On feedback and standards

On feedback The feedback you can get from yourself is not enough when it comes to the craft of writing. You might ask how then is it possible to give yourself feedback on moral matters—how can you reflect and call yourself right or wrong and give yourself feedback in something you aren’t well versed in? Being honest with yourself, though it takes practice, is built into all of us. You know, inherently, what is right or wrong. You don’t need anyone to consult that gut feeling for you. The one thing you can do is spend more time around the things that make you more reasonable and, thus, attuned to that inherent knowledge. However, where you don’t have the knowledge necessary to think up your own feedback you must consult others. (That is also not to say that you shouldn’t consult others in your own reflections on life itself, only that there is more value in self-reflection than there is in self-critique of something as material as writing.) There are much better writers than you, and, most importantly, they have a different perspective than you do on the writing you produced. They don’t have any attachment to the fruits of your labor and—if you find someone capable of doing so—are more than inclined to pick it apart for every last mistake. That’s what you are searching for. Your work is not perfect and validating any inkling you might have that says so is a bad thing for you. You’ve gotten some great feedback in the past, so look for more of that and surround yourself with honest advisers of the sort that will be able to supply this for you.

On standards Lower your standards and keep learning. In the ongoing battle of perfectionism, I've seen that you will prevent yourself from learning because you don't think that the time is ripe for learning. For example, if you're on the train or driving your car, you would rather listen to music than to a book because you are not as attentive as you would like to be. Though it's true that you could be more focused on the content you want to consume, youo're also using it as an excuse not to learn at all. If you only retain 10% of what you hear while reading an audiobook when you are driving versus 20% of what you hear when you are focused on the task, what difference does it make? If you don't read at all, you will retain 0%—a horrible step down from both of those numbers.