Natalie Sin has read my mind in her post today. At least part of my mind. Some parts I can't even read.
When I was an undergraduate student, one of my favorite writing instructors called me into his office for a conference about my work. His first question, to the best of my memory, went something like this:
"Aaron, are you the kind of guy who needs a swift kick in the ass or a pat on the back?"
I answered without hesitation. "Kick in the ass."
I find it too easy to become complacent, to tell myself, "hey, things are going pretty good". Then I become lazy, edit too little, send stories out before they are as crisp as they should be. The editors of the world know how to deliver that kick in the ass. Complacency is an ugly disease, an ungainly thing that chokes the benefits of hard work and determination.
I like the proverbial pat on the back as much as the next guy, but I know the swift kick is better for me in the long run. Day by day, I'm becoming better at kicking my own ass. It's my goal to keep kicking until I don't need to kick anymore.
Metaphorically, of course. (I hope I didn't need to explain that...)