Originally Published at Rob.BearSwarm.com on 2011-03-08.
Chuck Wendig recently posted an article titled Lies Writers Tell. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I want to be one and I find myself telling these same lies. At the end of the article Chuck asks why I tell them. I never really thought about it until now. So, I’m going to answer them. Right now. Un-edited. Un-scripted. Question by question. Even the lies I don’t tell.
“I Write Only For Me.”
This is a partial lie that I’ll tell. There have been things I’ve written only for me. They have never been posted on this site or any other site. Some of them have been shared with close friends but it was less to share my work and more to share myself.
Then there is the only caveat. There are things that I write primarily for myself but then share with the world. What I’m doing right now is a prime example. I don’t intend for anyone else to read this or care, but I’m willing to share it with the world. At the end of the day, I’m writing this for myself.
The things I feel were the most successful were the things I’ve written not for myself though. I’m very proud of my work on Danger Close and that wasn’t written for myself at all. There was a comic book I was writing with a friend back in Minnesota that wasn’t for myself. I acknowledge that anything I write that I want to feel successful than I need to share my writing.
So, a partial lie. I write the things that I want to write, but I write them for you.
“It’s Okay That I Didn’t Write Today. Or Yesterday. Or The Day Before That.”
Another partial lie. I don’t think it’s Okay that I didn’t write yesterday… but I still do it. At the end of the day that’s really splitting hairs though. I need to hold myself to a higher standard. I need to make the time to write. Even if it’s a couple hundred words. Every writer I’ve ever spoken with told me it’s important to write SOMETHING daily. To never fall out of the groove. Maybe I’ll start that tomorrow.
“I Just Don’t Have Time To Write.”
I say this. It’s not that I don’t have the time to write, it’s that I prioritize other things over writing. Like working my day job, recording & editing the podcast, prepping & running my Gotham Nights game, spending time with a lady friend, and playing video games.
I suck at time management. I don’t have time to write because I waste my time. Much like the last question, I need to break this habit. I need to make the time to write. I also need to make the time to go to the gym. Maybe tomorrow.
“I’ll Write Later!”
I just said that. I say it because I fear commitment. If I say that starting tomorrow I’m going to spend one hour a day writing and then I don’t I feel guilty. If I say maybe, I’ll see what I can do, and I don’t get around to it then I feel fine.
I suppose I should commit to writing if I want to be a writer.
“This Helps Me Write (And I Need It).”
I don’t really say this. Inspiration helps me write but I pull inspiration from everywhere. It’s a shitty rainy day today and it makes me want to start on a detective noir story I’ve been thinking about. My morning DCUO ritual didn’t inspire me to write, my drive to work did.
“I Don’t Care About Money.”
Yeah, I don’t say this. If I could write and get paid for it, I totally would. I care a lot about money. I have student loans to pay off.
“I Have To Build My Platform First.”
I’m not sure what Chuck means by this…
“I Don’t Need A Platform”
Again, I’m not sure. I might say this. I don’t know…
“Oh, Drat, My Creative Spark Has Been Extinguished.”
I’ve said this. I say this all the time. God damn, I say this a lot. I kill projects because of this.
Of course, the only advice I’ve ever heard on this is just to push through it. I’m just not sure how to push through it…
“I Never Find Writing Advice Helpful!”
I think I just said that too. Albeit in a different context. It’s not that I’m perfect, it’s my imperfections. I understand ridged structures just fine, like when to use your or you’re, but its the abstract shit that fucks me up. Like I said above, how do I push through when I’ve lost my inspiration? How does one “Just keep writing”? Maybe I need to read more advice…
“I’m Just No Good.”
You would think the podcast would have stopped this lie. I’ve learned, I KNOW, that there is a market for anything. Even the shittiest hack writers have an audience. Even something as pointless as Bear Swarm! has regular listeners… and not just one or two.
I think the problem with this lie is that it’s not about my work being good or not but about it not living up to my standards. I read something I’ve written and think, “That sure is no George R.R. Martin.” and then trash it. I know it’s an unreasonable standard but it’s what I keep thinking.