If our non-writing friends were to spend even five seconds inside our heads, they’d all come to the same conclusion: “All writers are liars.”
That, in itself, is a lie in itself. We’re not liars. We just love making stuff up. It’s our JOB.
Have you told any writing lies lately? You probably have, and you didn’t even realize it. Here are some of my favorites.
“I never get writer’s block!”
Technically, writer’s black isn’t real, but brains do burn out from time to time. No matter what you call it, EVERYONE has brain droughts. EVERYONE has stared at their computer screens longer than they should have, begging for inspiration to strike. You’re straight up lying if you claim this never happens to you. How you view and work to prevent the problem is what matters. You’re not perfect, so don’t act like you are. Sometimes, inspiration and motivation refuse to sync up. It happens.
“I’m making great progress on my story/book/project.”
What does “progress” mean, exactly? Because you know you’ve been making progress on that book for like two years now, and you’re still not done. Unfortunately, thinking about writing and actually writing are two very different things. There are slow days. Are there also slow weeks, slow months, and slow years? Own up to your slowness. I will. I’ve been writing my book sentence by sentence for the past week. I’m just not feeling it right now. IT HAPPENS.
“I’m almost done …”
What you really mean is, “I’m almost done with the rough draft of the rough draft of the rough draft that I’ll probably end up rewriting at some point anyway — twice.” “Almost” most definitely means “I have anywhere from 5 to 100 more pages, ish.” Are you done yet? How about now? I try my best not to announce to the world that I’m almost done writing something until I’m literally about to write the last few sentences. Don’t leave them hanging.
“Sorry, I can’t hang out this weekend. I’ll be too busy writing.”
Or you’ll be too busy Netflix-and-eating. No sensible writer spends an entire weekend writing. It’s bad for your mental health. A few hours, maybe the equivalent of a full workday, sure. But there’s always time for both writing and play. You’d just much rather do the work and then avoid people for the rest of the night, because really, writing is kind of like spending a lot of time with people. Some of them are just imaginary.
“Making money as a writer is too hard.”
There’s a big difference between the impossible, and the impossible to achieve with little to no effort. Making money writing isn’t hard. It just requires a lot of hard work. There are a lot of reasons some writers don’t make good money, or any money at all. You have to be a little business savvy if you want to create your own career in such an over-saturated field. You have to learn to talk less about yourself, and more about others. You have to spend a lot of time and effort working for less than a living wage before you’ve earned anything more. If you aren’t willing to put in the work … just say so.
“If I’m not writing well, I’m wasting my time.”
This lie is why so many writers struggle to get their work done. Here’s the truth: no writing time is wasted time. Even if you write something you’ll end up cutting later, you learned from that piece of unneeded text. You figured out why it’s not necessary, and that your piece will be better without it. That’s an important skill to have, as a writer. Writers cut things out of their stories they love — but that’s what makes stories better. Plus, bad writing is how we grow. If you never write terribly, you’ll never figure out how to write well. Writers spend a significant amount of time writing things they’ll never publish. It’s part of the process — and part of the journey.
“People aren’t reading my stuff, so there’s no point.”
FALSE! You never know who might be reading your work. In the grand scheme of things, views, likes, and shares are just data. They don’t define how worthy you are of writing things on the internet. One: people finding your stuff takes time, and if you’re only a few months into posting things online and you’re frustrated no one’s reading, you need some patience. Two: even if only one person reads and is influenced by your work, that should be enough. We all want to reach as many people as possible. But even a small audience is a huge accomplishment. (Thanks, small audience. You’re amazing. Always.)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.