When Your Story Really, Really Sucks

7:00 AM


It happens to the best of us. And the worst of us. And the in-between of us. And everyone else, really.


Making art is a dangerous thing. Writing a story is a risk.

The troublesome thing about stories is that stories are universal, stories are representations of truth and human nature and emotions, and we're just one-dimensional humans with our feet on the ground and a head full of other ideas and so, when the two things meet up, and that story has to come through even the most capable of human hands, it's going to come out mangled the first time. Or the first twenty times. Or the first one hundred times. We distort them; we take our ideas and our opinions and our emotions and the lines blur so quickly that what comes out is just a mess with not much resemblance to the lovely thing in our heads.

This is kind of just true. It happens to everyone, and we all love to complain about it. We've all been there.

Sometimes, your story just sucks. Or it feels that way, at least.

It's horrible. It's badly-written.

The characters aren't who they're supposed to be.

The plot doesn't move as quickly as it should.

Nothing works right and dangit, you don't know why, you just know that something isn't coming through during the translation from head to fingers.
Image result for writing gif
#tru
It's easy to blame ourselves. I do it all the time. I'm a horrible writer, I'm not qualified enough to write this story, I'm not going to be good enough, I didn't put in the work, I didn't plan, I just suck and that's why this story sucks and it's always going to suck I'm the worst I can't write anything that doesn't suck and so on. I'm the master of that loop that runs through my head every time I look at another trainwreck of a draft and wonder Wow, did I not learn anything from last time? 

It's an endless cycle and unfortunately, it's kind of the writer's curse. From what I can tell it doesn't go away. 

But we can definitely fight the feeling. this is really just a note to me because i'm the worst at it. 

So, lovely dear insecure writer whose story really sucks, 

Take a deep breath. 

And another one. 

Close out the document. 

Shut your computer, or close your notebook, or whatever else you're using, just turn it off. 

Breathe again. Inhale, exhale, you know the drill. Slowly. Feel the air fill your lungs and come back out again. Take a second to be alive. 

Go get a drink of water. Two, maybe. You need to keep hydrated. 

Take a shower. Wash off the icky feelings. 

Binge-watch a show. Binge-read a book. Turn on the music super-duper loud, as loud as you want. Drown yourself in something that makes you laugh, or inspires you, or tugs at your heart. Invest in someone else's story for a while. 

You are not your story. 

Your story is not its finished self. It's not polished. It's not complete. It hasn't reached its full potential, and you haven't hit the end. Frustration doesn't last forever. 

Go to bed. Sleep is good for your brain. 

Sit at the desk. 

Open up the document. 

Keep at it. 

We call it a work-in-progress for a reason; and you have to work pretty hard to make progress at all. It won't be immediate. Maybe your story isn't in its best form right now. 

But you're never stuck for good, and it's never hopeless. 

Breathe, and remember why you're writing it. 

Why you love it. 

Why it's worth it. 

And, even when you feel like it sucks, like it can't possibly be redeemed, like you're the worst, keep at it. 

It's gonna be okay. I promise. 


what do you do to get back up when you feel like your story sucks? share some words of encouragement with your fellow suffering writers out there. 

23 comments

  1. This was an awesome post! I struggle with this, especially before a NaNo event.

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    1. Ugh NaNo is the best/worst time for self-doubt. You got this!

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  2. honestly, i used to think that writers are just naturally talented people and publish their first draft which is somehow perfection. i've come to realise now, when i myself have started to get serious about writing, how difficult it actually is. so i'm taking it slow and easy. i'm not pressurising myself to spew out words, and chapters, and characters and their lives. i'm writing only when i'm sinspred, allowing the caracters and the plot to take some shape, to come of their on accord. alot of times i'll open up pinterest for inspiration, but for the actual writing process i turn it off. i've decided that it isn't good stressing out over it and that i should be ready for the inevitable (it seems to be) crushing feeling of my story not being the way it should. and when that happens, i've decided that i'll be okay. God help me.
    thank you for writing this aimee. <3 x





    http://fangirlingmaxima.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm so glad you've had this realization! It's easy to get sucked into the black hole of thinking your story sucks and everything sucks and you'll never be any good because you're just not naturally talented. But that's a lie, and a hard one to fight. Keep up the good work and keep writing!

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  3. All of the things you've mentioned in your blog post are things I do..but also, I find myself talking to my friends and journaling (about writing) and just trying to figure out why I feel this way and/or how I can move past it. I've also realized that some stories just aren't meant to be and it's alright to let go off something if I know I can't get it in tip-top shape.

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    1. Yes! It's okay to let things go, and as hard as it is to realize that...it's very freeing.

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  4. This was a lovely and refreshing post. I often go back to the beginning when I get stuck in a rut of story-hatred. I'll listen to music and re-read the first notes or whatever I wrote down when I first got the idea. It also helps me to step back and really analyze my intentions and process, and to try and pinpoint what I'm doing wrong. Even if I can't find exactly what it is, it still helps me to see the big picture again.

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    1. Going back to the beginning and stepping back always helps me, too. Sometimes I just have to backpedal to where it stopped being easy/enjoyable, and I'll find the problem there.

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  5. I spend at least 80 percent of my writing life convinced that I can't actually write, so this was very helpfully. Honestly, my go to technique is to either give up and cry or just keep gutting through it. Also stress-eating and binge-watching Netflix. On a healthier note, sometimes journaling about my feelings for a project and why I think it isn't working helps. Ultimately, I think that awful "my story sucks!" feeling has a lot more to do with my state of mind than the quality of the writing in question. Then again, sometimes it just sucks.

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    1. Sighhhh I really need to get into some healthier writing habits, but...I'm getting there. Slowly.

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  6. Aghhhh I feel this way right now.😂 I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY. I'm like 50% excited about my NaNo book and 50% in the "omg this is rubbish and no one is ever going to want to read this" frame of mind. And I need to get out of it or I'll put myself in a writing slump!! And I don't want that to happen! I think one thing I do when I'm slumping is go back to a genre/book/story that makes me really happy to write. And I definitely try to fill up the creative tanks too. That's invaluable advice, because often times when we think everything sucks, we're just running on creative-empty. OH AND CAKE. CAKE IS INSPIRING.

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  7. OOH this was so accurate and awesome XD. And you know what I do when I'm mad at how my story is looking? I STOP LOOKING AT IT. For a few days at the least - a few weeks at the most. It helps a TON *nods*.

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. Yessss shun the story. Sometimes taking a step back is all you need.

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  8. This is such a great post, Aimee. I love it. And I totally know the feeling...ugh... I just remind myself that I can edit it later and that nothing can ever be truly perfect. With God though, I may be able to accomplish something great.

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    1. That's a great way to look at it -- God can help you through anything, and I forget to ask him for help a lot of the time, which is probably part of the problem.

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  9. Thank you for this. Your posts are always so insightful and applicable -- not shallow, general stuff.

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  10. Thank you for a very inspiring post!

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  11. This post made me feel so much better. I think I've probably just been stressed out because of NaNo, but gosh I needed to read this. ♥

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    1. *hugs* I'm so glad it was helpful. Deep breaths, we got this.

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  12. My story is a disaster and it's not even written yet! �� I've been brainstorming and idea plotting for awhile and now I've been trying to develop my characters more, but they quit talking to me.......:( so now I'm stuck and I haven't even written a draft yet! HELP!!!!!!

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.