“This article is terrible.”
“You call this writing?”
“Everything you have to say is boring.”
“You’re just not good enough.”
These are the kinds of things you’d expect to hear from a horrible boss, a troll in the comments, or a cruel bully.
Yet too often, these are the kinds of things that we say to ourselves.
We may claim that this way of speaking to ourselves and attacking our writing is useful: It’s just us being realistic and giving ourselves an honest self-critique. After all, Simon Cowell was the best judge, right? So why should we be Paula Abdul, overenthusiastically praising ourselves?
But this sort of thinking isn’t constructive criticism. It’s just, well, mean.