In the past few years I've seen my writing ability and knowledge of writing techniques, traps, etc. grow through constant practice and reading. I recently took a moment to reflect and reread a short story that I had completed (and felt fairly confident about) with the aim of experiencing the story as an objective reader. I think about a year had passed since I'd last looked at the story. Needless to say, I was shocked by the lack of quality in what I read. My confidence in my ability was undermined by what I'd produced, and I felt it necessary to read some of my more recent work as objectively as I could (with the hope that a clear growth in ability would redeem my self-esteem). To my disappointment, I felt that my recent work was also sub par. Part of this feeling was tempered by a qualitative comparison of my work to the work of published authors that I admire (both classic and contemporary works). I've definitely had a bit of a crisis of faith in my ability, but I have also found that I'm more motivated now then I've ever been. I feel as though I've established a better understanding of myself and of what I'd like to (hopefully) grow into. In some ways, this form of self-review has been more valuable to me than peer review. Have any of you had a similar experience while self-reviewing? Also...I feel as though it could be helpful to reviewers if authors on this site were to review their own work after posting. It might help the author better understand what they are trying to accomplish if they are stating their goals and self-criticisms for all to read. Thoughts?