Now this is something I find almost impossible to do.
Every single time I sit down to write I make the journey from 'My God this sucks' to 'this is starting to hang together' to 'I'm liking this!' and back to 'this is total crap.' Somewhere through that process I actually get a buzz - usually when I forget to think critically at all.
I've won prizes and been shortlisted for genre awards. Other writer friends say I write well. Every now and then I will get a shock when a dedicated critiquer who does nothing but criticize me and my work introduces me as a 'fine writer.'
It seems that I have no capacity for objectivity. When I look at the work that I have done I see the prose through a microscope (showing ugliness usually) and the story from a lightyear away - focused on the shape of the whole thing and its various subplots.
Getting critique is one way to get feedback. Reviews on published work are another. I'm not sure which one is crueler, probably the reviews since they are public and liable to effect sales.
I got a mixed review on The Calvanni from one of the Asif reviewers when it came out in 2006 (the other one loved it). She went on about unnecessary complexity etc When I met her some months later at a convention she said. 'You know I really liked the book.' Well why the Hell couldn't you have said that in print!
On a day-to-day basis, how are you supposed to get any sort of handle on your work?
I guess writing is a never-ending series of judgements you make - is the sentence too long, is there enough description, should the clown really kill the president, how big are his shoes etc. Yet when the high of actually being in the flow fades, all I am left with is a sense of unease.
How do you go about judging your own work as you progress? Is it actually impossible?