Here at the Writers’ Program, there’s nothing we love more than a good success story (followed closely by chocolate). We work day in and day out to offer a diverse and comprehensive writing program and it’s gratifying when the hard work pays off. As writers ourselves, we know that reading about the successes of our peers can be inspiring, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, blocked, or frustrated. On a more practical level, success stories (featured on the homepage just to the left of this article each week), are also a great way to discover online journals and websites. As the publishing world becomes increasingly competitive, we’re consistently impressed with how many Writers’ Program students—resourceful as always!—find nontraditional avenues for getting their work out into the world. So without further ado, here are several success stories to inspire, motivate, and introduce you to some new resources.

· Online creative writing certificate student Margaret Chen received honorable mention in the February 2010 Glimmer Train Contest for New Writers for her story “Mephistopheles in Miami.” She credits Dave Borofka and Lisa Cron (who nominated her for the 2009 Kirkwood Award) with encouraging her to submit her work. This past summer, Margaret had three flash fiction pieces (all written in Dave Borofka’s class) featured in the online publications The Shine Journal, A Long Story Short, and Monkeybicycle. “I wrote many of my favorite stories in Dave’s classes, and Lisa’s encouragement gave me the energy to keep writing and submitting, even through the most difficult times.”

· Student Katherine Sand’s short story, “Tea with Lena,” was featured earlier this year in Scribblers on the Roof, a forum for Jewish fiction and poetry. Katherine thanks the Writers’ Program for helping her get her work published: “I’m absolutely certain that without the Writers’ Program I wouldn’t have had the skills or confidence to have produced this story, so thanks to those excellent teachers for their guidance and encouragement!”

· Elizabeth Kuelbs, who completed her Certificate in Creative Writing last year, recently had her piece, “Blackbird Gumbo,” included on the Flash Fiction blog Six Sentences. Elizabeth has been featured in Success Stories twice before for publishing her flash fiction and for her acceptance into the Vermont College MFA program.

· And last but certainly not least, short story writer Sasha Mann will have a satirical piece about whistling included in McSweeney‘s “Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond.” “I have to credit the Writers’ Program for ‘unblocking’ me as it were,” she says, “especially Steve Sohmer and, very recently, Lou Mathews.”

Congratulations to Margaret, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Sasha, and their fabulous Writers’ Program instructors. If you have your own success story, please write to us at writers@uclaextension.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

Katy Flaherty is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Online) and Events. 

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