Lies Writers Believe
Today, as I read in a book called, “Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I started thinking about writing and the lies we writers believe. I can’t really speak for everyone, but these are a few of the one’s I’ve told myself.
THE LIE: I can’t write as well as ___________, so I must not be a good writer. (OR If I can’t write like _____….)
THE TRUTH: Hmmm, possibly true, but in all likelihood, you have compared yourself to a great writer, or someone who’s style you admire. Just because you write differently than someone else (admired by you or the world) does not mean you’re not a good writer. Just like art, good writing is often in the eye of the
beholder reader. AND, if a person is willing to work at it, he or she can improve his or her writing. Be true to your own voice, it is your gift and your gift to your readers.
THE LIE: If I am not published, by traditional methods or not at all, I cannot call myself a ‘real’ writer.
THE TRUTH: The world no longer measures success by the traditional way. Success is also in the eye of the beholder. If you have achieved the level of success that you want (or even if you haven’t but are working on it)–you are a success. A successful blog? A successful copy writer? A successful poet? A successful technical writer. Many types of writing and many tastes in reading makes room for more of us to say: I am a successful writer.
THE LIE: If I don’t know all the ins and outs of writing, grammar and sentence structure and the like, I cannot write.
THE TRUTH: Most writers don’t know everything about writing when they begin. Grammar Nazi’s usually make themselves available to help writers who struggle with these things. I have a friend who’s writing is an awful mess (grammar wise). I often threaten to pull her semi-colon key off her computer. However, her writing is just fine, it is the technical part she struggles with. That’s why she has me as a friend. She writes; I edit – a perfect match. Many writers feel as if wandering in the dark at times, especially with all the technology changes and publishing changes these days. You don’t have to know it all, you just have to know how to find out what you need when you need it.
THE LIE: I don’t have the time to write.
THE TRUTH: We all have time to do what we want to do. If it means getting up before the family in the morning or staying up after everyone else is in bed, the writer can find time if he/she looks for it.
THE LIES: I have nothing to say. and I have to write what I know.
THE TRUTH: Everyone has a story. We all have unique lives and unique stories. Sharing them, even in fiction form, can help someone else. We all know something. We can write about what we know. If we don’t know enough about a subject, we can do some research. Almost every writer I know has written about something he or she didn’t have a clue about prior to a bit of research. We learned everything we know at some time and in some way. Learning to research just continues the learning.
THE LIE: I can’t write if ‘the muse’ is not with me (enter writer’s block).
THE TRUTH: The truth is that you can’t always write some things at a moment in time, but you can write. You can write something. Often writing something will lead to writing other things. It’s OK if you write crap every now and then — even the best do. It can always get an edit later.
THE LIE: In order to get followers, I have to follow everyone who follows me and comment every time (even if it kills me).
THE TRUTH: If you have something to say, you will gain followers. The ones who come there because they like your posts will stay, even if you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to follow and comment all the time. If you can, that’s great, but that’s not how you get followers. You get followers by writing something others want to read. AND, if you are true to yourself in your writing, others will want to read what you wrote.
THE LIE: I can make everyone happy.
THE TRUTH: This is NEVER going to happen. You can’t make everyone happy no matter how hard you try. AND, trying will kill your writing/blog/spirit. Not everyone will agree with you; not everyone will be nice about it; you won’t please everyone with your writing (or anything else about you). The only person you need to please (aside from your boss if you’re writing for pay) is yourself.
Now it’s your turn. What are some lies you have believed and/or the truth that will set your writing free?