Even though I am a writer, I have to confess a dark truth to you today: writers are sometimes not particularly smart. We tell ourselves ALL KINDS OF LIES. I think it’s habit? Because we have fabulous imaginations and if they’re not put to good use writing a story then — BOOM — our brains come up with notoriously pathetic lies that ruin our lives.*
And if we find ourselves frequently believing these lies…what is left to do but eat cake and dig a deep, dark hermit cave and live in there for 19 years of suffering?
So TODAY! I am here to a) point out these lies, b) address them firmly, and c) probably talk about cake because let’s face it: it’s who I am, Bob.
* This could be considered dramatic. BUT. I’m a writer??? Drama is in the job description???
Oh, oh ha ha. Oh hahahahahah ha ha. Ahem. Adorable. This is a very silly lie that even I actually fall prey to quite an embarrassing amount. There should be like a golden rule of “if you think up something brilliant, drop whatever you’re doing and WRITE IT DOWN RIGHT NOW OMG DO NOT DELAY.” There are basically not exceptions to this rule unless you are a) holding a baby, in which case lay it down gently, or b) eating cake, in which shove it all in your mouth so you have hands free to write.
Never think that an idea will be kind to you and stick around! NEVER. CATCH IT. BE SAFE.
2. “I’LL JUST EAT ONE PIECE OF CHOCOLATE AFTER I EDIT THIS.”
Not only is this a lie, it’s silly. Why are you even saying it? You edited, you deserve at least a small 9ft model of the Titantic built out of chocolate and at your disposal for consuming after editing. It also might kill you to eat that much chocolate, but who said the writers life was a safe one??? Hmm? It’s not. EAT THE CHOCOLATE.
3. “I CAN’T WRITE ABOUT THAT, I’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED IT.”
Pfffft. This is not true, not at all. Because I can assure that that most* authors have not murdered anyone EVER and yet quite convincingly write about it. There are a lot of life experiences that are hard to write about without having lived them. Some you’ll probably make a mash of without tons of research. BUT. It’s definitely possible to put in the research and time and effort and DO THIS. It depends on what you want to achieve not a “I can/I can’t” matter.
* I will be cautious with my assumption here because WHO KNOWS what length some writers do go to for research. Please don’t be tempted, though. I hear the WiFi is a little patchy in prison.
4. “MY BRAIN IS MUSH. I CAN’T THINK. I’M DYING.”
This is a lie because if you’re moaning on the internet, you are, in fact, not dead. And your brain is probably not mush, it’s actually (scientifically proven by myself and a team of highly trained dragons) more akin to a fried toaster strudel. There is no cure. Death is near, probably.
5. “IT’S A WRITER THING, YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND.”
PFFT. There are perfectly normal-functioning writers out there. YOU, my friend, are just using “writer” to cover your true inner deranged, slightly psychotic, and completely wildly strange self. No judgement. BUT I SEE THE TRUTH.
6. “MY HANDS FELL OFF BECAUSE I TYPED SO MUCH.”
This actually happened to me and is not a lie…so, gee, who’s putting together this post? They are a melon. This statement is clearly TRUE. SOMEONE CALL THE EDITING TEAM, THIS POST NEEDS HELP ASAP —
7. “WHY AM I BOTHERING TO WRITE??? THIS [INSERT PUBLISHED BOOK HERE] IS SO SO SOOO MUCH BETTER THAN ME.”
Spoiler alert: a traditionally published book is not worked on by one person. Not even two. THERE ARE HORDES OF LITERARY MONSTERS BEHIND EVERY BOOK. And those literary monsters are qualified and clever and getting paid imminently — which all very much changes how they approach working on a novel. Your book will probably never be as good as a published one if you’re just working on it by yourself. So take heart in that, okay?! Almost all authors have had to submit books that are good and GREAT but not perfect. You don’t have to be perfect. Yet.
8. “MY BOOK BIT ME.”
This is purely a lie and I’m ashamed at you for thinking it. Books do not bite. THEY GOUGE OUT YOUR EYES WITH THE FEROCITY OF THEIR EXPECTATIONS AND THEN THEY BURN YOU WILL DANCING IN WICKED CIRCLES SINGING YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME.
Do not doubt me on this. Lock up your manuscripts at night. Stay safe, writerlings, stay safe.
9. “I’M NOT A REAL WRITER YET. I’M JUST AN ASPIRING WRITER.”
Oh PUH-LEASE. You are a writer. If you write = writer. The word “writer” doesn’t actually mean “expert”, okay? It just means you write. SIMPLE. There is no “you must write this amount of words to get the writer title” rule…and even if there was are you going to listen to silly rules? NO. Rules like to be broken. Especially writerly* ones.
Ditch the “aspiring”, okay? YOU ARE A WRITER. YOU GOT THIS.**
* Unless the rule is “Don’t write your book in dragonish runes” because that is an EXCELLENT rule and I highly recommend you adhere to it always. No one can read runes, okay?
** And even if you don’t, pfft, who really does? I can’t even spell my own name half the times, but I managed to whack together several thousand words every once and a while, call it a book, and destroy various readers’ feels. Fake it till ya make it.
10. “WHAT IF I DON’T GET ANYMORE IDEAS AND I’M A ONE-HIT-BOOKISH-WONDER?”
I’m sure this could possibly happen?? But I’m 90% sure it’s also a lie. If you are a writer, there’s more than one story inside you. That’s the truth! And maybe you won’t have that story immediately. Maybe for years it’ll elude you. But once you start writing — it’s like a very sharp-toothed marmot. It’ll keep biting you. VICIOUSLY. And you’ll have to get up and swat the marmot (aka write another idea) and eventually you’ll grow to love the pesky sharp-toothed marmot.
And we can all agree this is the worst metaphor Cait has ever made. Thank you, Cait. You’re fired, Cait.
what other writer “lies” are out there that need to be dispelled?! ADD TO MY LIST, I DARE YOU. and also do you ever feel threatened by your own manuscript? do you need cake or a vaguely comforting pat on the shoulder? OH OH and have you ever told yourself any of these lies!??! let me know all in the comments!!