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I have written a bad story and survived it.

It happened to me, and I suppose it happens to every writer from time to time. And it hurts every darn time.

I have written a bad story. As in, really bad. And sent it to a writers workshop of kinds, the best stories from that particular round were supposed to be published in a family magazine, a legend I grew up with. As it happened, we all sent really bad stories. Now, most of the participants are not really writers, but I am — and my story turned out to be the worst. Ouch.

It hurts. Acknowledging that I’ve written such a bad story hurts. Realizing I was clueless as to how bad it was hurts too — why didn’t I see it before I sent it? Or before it was even written? Plus, in the rare moments I show up in that workshop, I act arrogant more often than I should (I shouldn’t be acting like that at all), and then I send a truly bad story.

The only good thing I did was accepting criticism with grace, asking for explanations and thanking for comments. No being defensive, no hissing fits. Good for me.

So, what do you do when something like that happens, when you feel ashamed because your story, for which you thought was somewhat cute, turns out to be bad?

I suppose I could work on that story and make a better one, but I’m not really interested in that particular story enough to do it. Or I could write something else, hope I do better this time, send it to someone whose judgement I trust, and see what happens.

That’s what I did. I have written a story for Karen‘s Flash Fiction Fridays (the October one, with nightmares as a subject), and sent it to her, and she told me it was good and would appear on her blog.

Having someone with decades of experience as an editor tell you you wrote a good story after a fiasco sure feels good. It helps with moving on, with realizing that, yes, one of my stories was really bad, but I have written another, and it was good.

I’ve written a bad story and survived. I’m moving on and I still write and I still have good writing in me, and it feels good.


A writer, a reader, a dreamer. Dreaming myself into existence.

8 thoughts on “Ouch

  1. Ivana, I think every piece of writing brings us closer to greatness. Kudos to you for taking the criticism with such aplomb. And like Karen mentioned, there is growth, personal and professional, from experiences such as these. After all, aren't we all in it for the opportunity to improve and grow? Congratulations on your new story being featured!


  2. You know what's worse than writing a bad story and sending it in?Keeping your story in your head and never having the oomph to write it, or send it anywhere.I sent a story to EDF a few months ago – I thought it was good, it went through the first round, but the editors rejected it, with many interesting suggestions. Which I intend to look at and rewrite said story for another market… eventually.Good for you for having the guts to DO this, and even more, for sharing the bitter experience here. [Cheering]


  3. Thank you, Beverly. I was hoping my experience would be of some help to other fellow writers – these things happen, but we move on and become better for the experience. And yes, I agree that the worst thing is to never have the courage and the will to actually write something and send it.


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