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Like most writers, I simultaneously think my writing is the shit and think my writing is shit.

In college, I was more solidly in the “my writing is the shit” camp. And I didn’t agree with anyone who had any sort of criticism. I still maintain that a lot of the peer reviews were utter bullshit and ultimately unhelpful. As Neil Gaiman says:

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

None of us truly new how to critique another’s work in a way that was helpful. We always gave two kinds of comments: 1. Super vague “This was cool” or 2. Super specific “You should do this.”

So, while they were still shitty reviewers, my writing truly did suck. No matter how proud of my writing I am, there are still major flaws with my pieces.

What I only recently realized was that my problem was because I didn’t actually read in college. I didn’t have time, and I lost all joy for reading. So I just didn’t.

Instead, I watched TV. A lot of TV. In the summer of 2013, I watched at least (according to my records, don’t ask why I have records of this) 28 complete seasons of various shows, 39 episodes of various shows outside of those 28 seasons, and 39 movies. Like I said, I watched a lot of TV.

I didn’t start my creative writing classes until Fall 2013.

So basically what I’m saying is my writing was shit because they all sounded like TV shows. I didn’t read and I watched a lot of TV and as we know, most TV these days has really, really bad writing, and all of my short stories sounded like an episode of Supernatural.

Now, on my mental health break from writing, I am also spending time reading more and learning how actual written stories need to be constructed.

Moral of the story: TV is ok, but if you want to write stories, you also need to read a lot.