I have been writing in my free time for about three years now. I've written a 100k word super hero novel (in fact I wrote it twice because the first draft was so bad) and in August I hit 40k words on a teen drama that I was having a lot of fun writing.
In September I put my WIP on hold so I could spend time working on an application to an exclusive writing class with one of my favorite authors. I got busy with school (I'm a full time college student) and ended up not coming back to my WIP until this week.
In my three years of writing I feel that I've improved a lot. I have also gotten a lot more confident, to the point where I was sharing my novels on Facebook and hoping my friends would read and enjoy them.
Yesterday, though, I sat down to work on my novel for the first time since September. I started reading from the beginning, intending to skim through and remind myself where I left off.
And I hated it. I HATED it. I am pretty critical of the books that I read, especially since I've been writing on my own, but my novel was beyond bad. The prose is rushed, like a six year old was telling a story to his mom. The characterization is inconsistent. The dialog is contrived. I couldn't even get through the first chapter. And this was the novel that I thought was good! This is the one my wife read and told me I could get published one day.
So now I'm left wondering what happened. How did I get so out of touch with what I thought my writing was like? How did I convince myself that I was making progress when it now seems like I wasn't? How do I stop that from happening again?
I don't really want to get published. I just want to write something good enough to be comparable to things that are published. I want someone to be able to sit down and actually enjoy reading it, even if that person is me. But I feel like I'll never get there if I can't see my writing clearly without giving it a three month break.
Story aside, here's the point I think is worth discussing: How do you see your writing clearly and objectively, and how do you measure your progress?