Lies Writers Tell Themselves

I find writing frustrating, especially when I’m working on a first draft or dealing with plot holes the size of Jupiter. Everything is so much more interesting than whatever it is I’m working on: pizza flyers, Bruce Jenner, the spider nestled in the corner. (Is it dead or just hibernating?)

To get through the rough spots, I often tell myself little lies. Writers are pretty much the best liars around. After all, we spend our whole lives making stuff up. Here are some of my lies. Any of these sound familiar? 

1)    I know what I’m doing.
If readers only knew how clueless many writers are when we sit down to write. More often than not, I have no idea where a story will go. It’s like being dropped in an unfamiliar landscape without a map. Eventually, you find your way, but getting to that point can feel like a meandering journey. 

2)    This book? Right here? Huge. 
No writer can ever guarantee a book’s success while they’re in the process of writing it. Which is probably a good thing, because if you knew it was going to tank, why waste all that time? So tell yourself this book is going to be a literary tsunami. Your private life will soon be toast. But you’ll have a jet, so…

3)    My characters depend on me.
I pretend my characters are real people. Which they are. In a way. Otherwise, why would I care about them? Without me, their stories wouldn’t get told. I’m responsible to them. I’ll stop talking here. If I continue, it’ll get weird really fast.

4)    [Insert name] will finally see how talented I am.
An ex-boyfriend? Your mother? The random stranger who flipped you the bird this morning? Whoever it is, your next book is going to make them weep. Like, hard. You’re going to put so much perspective on their lives, they’ll crumble to the ground. After they pick themselves up, they’ll build a shrine to you. 

5)    People are waiting.
Hopefully, you have a fan or two interested in your next book. But most people out there are grocery shopping and honking car horns and don’t give a crap what you’re up to. Nevertheless, I like to imagine a large crowd outside my door, chanting, “What do we want? Your book! When do we want it? NOW!”

6)    This will be my last book.
Here’s hoping to fuck it isn’t, but who knows when the Grim Reaper will come prancercising around the corner? If you’re going to leave a legacy behind, a book is a pretty good one. And since you’re dead, you’ll become famous (See lie #2). So make this book count.