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Learn to criticize your own work, before anyone else can.

Another way of stating this is, “The best defense is a good offense.” If you are willing to analyze and pick apart your own work and rewrite it before submitting it for others to look at, you may find much to improve. The only problem is that writers are often too close to their work to pick it apart well. To do this, you must maintain a certain level of objectivity about your work. One way to help is to set a poem aside for long enough to dampen the emotion and the pride in the writing. You might be the type of person where this takes only a few days. Or a century might not be long enough to distance you from your poem. You have to know yourself well enough to decide whether you can be a competent critic of your own work.

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