Thursday, February 04, 2016


I started and finished something last week.  It was a short story for a competition I paid $45 to enter. Participants were given a genre, character, and subject, and were charged with writing a 2500-words-or-less story in a week.

My genre was "ghost story." Even if I believed in ghosts, which I don't, I would never believe in the idea that ghosts are out to do harm to people. My instinct was to write a sad ghost story, not a scary one, but the genre description on the website specified that it should be creepy and frightening. So I wrote a ghost story.

I sort of liked my idea, but I was hating my execution. I waded through that story like it was sewage. I'm usually sort of happy with some of what I write, but at the end of this story, I had a real thought that I should just not write anymore, which spiraled into this helpful brainstorm about how I've been praised on my writing my whole life, and how it's one of the only things I think I'm good at, and maybe The Only thing other people have consistently told me I'm good at, but I just don't do it at all, I don't make time for it, and how maybe I've just been wrong about this huge part of me, that I'm actually NOT any good at writing, and...

Because I had this inkling that the idea was good, I decided to put my insecurities aside and show the story to a few people, with the hopes they might be able to offer constructive criticism. I've never been this reluctant to show people my writing. I just hated the story, and was embarrassed that this is what I'd come up with for this contest. I showed the story to other writers, and at least one of them loved it. The other ones had very positive things to say and nothing negative to say. One of them agreed that it was a draft and not a finished story, but that it was a very good, solid draft.

So, the story will live to see another draft. And I'll live to see another day as a writer, internal critic be damned.

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