Five Common Lies Writers Tell Themselves

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Being a writer is difficult. It’s a time-consuming, lonely craft, rife with pitfalls and mental traps. There are lies many writers tell themselves to keep themselves from becoming successful in their craft. They do this for various reasons—they’re afraid of progress, they don’t believe in themselves, or they’re fooling themselves. What lies do you tell yourself?

Here are five common ones:

#1 Being a writer is fun and easy.

Being a writer is not fun and easy. There are fun moments and there are easy moments. But great writing is difficult, and not very fun.

The way I like to think about great writing is through comparison with body-building. Stop and watch a body-builder for a moment. See their faces of discomfort, listen to their grunts. They don’t appear to be having “fun.” Yet, look at how strong they are! My heavens!

That’s because they have different reasons for doing this, as do strong writers. They’re doing it to achieve difficult goals and they’re succeeding because they’ve gone past the fun stage of their craft and ventured into the working stage. They get satisfaction from their work. Which, at the end of the day, is more worthwhile than simple fun.

#2 Writing is too difficult, so why try?

Yes, writing is a difficult craft, akin to mental weight-lifting. But that shouldn’t turn you away from it. Test yourself to see the truth that you could uncover and put on paper if you honed your craft.

The most common variation of this lie is the one where the would-be writer decides to give up on writing   because they’ve lost hope of writing a best-seller. Because they’ve convinced themselves they’re not going to be published due to the supposed poor quality of their writing, there is no point to it.

That is ridiculous. Write for yourself, not for your ghostly agent. Yes, you should keep your audience in mind, but don’t take breaks in your work to look in mirrors to see if you’re starting to look like a writer yet.

The biggest moral you should take away from this article is: Write to better yourself and write constantly.

#3 All I need is the key to writing.

No one can teach you to become a writer. It’s that simple. They can teach you grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. They can teach you about character arcs, plots, clichés, points of view, and red herrings. They can tell you the habits of famous writers.

But the truth is, only you can teach yourself how to become a writer. They rest of us can just tell you about things that helped us along our own paths to becoming writers. There is no key to the city. No, wait, there is! The key is inside you

It really is, though.

#4 I have nothing to write about.

This is just silly. Everyone has something to write about. If your complaint is you lead a dull life of quiet desperation where nothing happens, then there’s your story idea right there. All you need to supply is the event that happens to a person just like you when they step out of work on a fateful Tuesday.

If you’ve lived any amount of years on this world, you’ve seen enough to write about something. Everyone has a story to tell. And most of us have an imagination.  So, use it!

#5 I don’t have the time to write.

If you’ve read any post of mine on InkItt, you’ll know this is my greatest enemy.

You have time to write. Get off your phone. Don’t binge-watch. Write in the bathroom. This is the easiest lie out of all of these to get yourself to stop believing.

The most important part of becoming a writer is writing. Find time, write. Think about writing. Think of everything through a writer’s lens—can you make it into a story? This is the path to becoming a writer and it is fraught with pitfalls and traps. But, the great part is, you set most of these traps yourself. Disarm, and never stop writing.

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About Author

John Paul Schmidt is a former news journalist. Now he's a freelancer by day and bartender by night while he works on his novel.

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