Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Was Good Isn't Bad

“Don't be afraid of writing bad, mawkish stories, for that will show you many things about yourself, and your eye and taste and what you really feel and care about will become clearer to you.” – Brenda Ueland in If You Want to Write.
This reminded me of the same online conversation I had in the past couple of weeks with two different authors, one in a critique group and the other in a private “office.” (Maybe summer increases an author's insecurities.) In each case, someone mused about how bad one of his previously published stories was. I thought about this and realized I’d thought the same thing about some of my older stories. Then I realized I was wrong. At the time I wrote the story, one editor, at least, found it worthy of publication. The story was good. What was different when I read the story later was that I had improved as a writer. Good writing for me when I wrote the first story wasn’t good enough anymore. What should upset me is if I'd read the story and thought it was still a great piece of writing.

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