Sometimes I lie to myself.
When I’m waiting for news on a project, sometimes I lie to myself. Sometimes I tell myself it’s already sold to an editor who loved it. Sometimes I envision the letter I’ll get. The launch party I’ll plan. Sometimes I lie to myself and allow myself that amazing feeling of being happy about my writing.
Some people would say this isn’t lying at all. It’s simply envisioning the future, putting it out there, for the benevolent Universe to provide. Sometimes I believe that, too.
But then the days turn to weeks and the weeks to months and how do we sustain ourselves in the meantime when all we can see is the next five minutes and the emails that don’t miraculously appear just because we’ve closed our eyes and believed our intentions?
We just keep writing. The next book. The book after. The one we always wanted to, even when we thought nobody would want it, because nobody wants (fill in the blank) this year. Good thing, too, because this year is going to turn into next year and then the next and then maybe this book, the one we want to write will get noticed.
And it’s the thought that the only thing we can do is keep writing that feels so beautifully simple. Because sometimes the lies do come true. Most times they don’t. Most times that particular editor doesn’t take the book or doesn’t even respond. At least not on our timetable.
I was watching a Winter’s Tale this weekend (for the fifth time) and I loved the part when Lucifer says demons don’t understand the concepts of now and time.
Writers definitely don’t.
Because sometimes the it-didn’t-sell blues is just the it-didn’t-sell-yet blues…yet. Man, I love that word. Yet.
So we keep writing, counting our progression in terms of word counts or chapters or drafts or revisions. And at some point that writing amounts to something. Maybe it’s not a deal. Yet. Maybe it’s not an agent signing. Yet. Maybe it’s just the time that it takes to get better or to see more or to understand entirely. But until then I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m probably going to lie to myself.
I’m doing it right now.
Right now I’m telling myself that this book, the one I’m working on now, that I wrote initially six years ago. This is that book’s time. Right now. Good thing, too, because this book has me distracted enough to not check my emails every five minutes concerning my last book. The one I started last year. The one that hasn’t sold. Yet.
I always say Writing is a bad boyfriend, and it’s true. But right now, Writing believes in me. Truth is he always has. Through every draft and every revision and every rejection, He has shown back up, held his hand out with a really cute expression on his face as he asks. “Wanna dance?”
And my answer is always the same.
Writing distracts me from everything bad in my life. Writing listens to all my sad stories. The funny ones, too. Writing tells me other people will want to hear them. One day. Maybe not this day, but that’s cool. Because Writing may be an audience of one, but he always, always throws roses on the stage for me when I’ve dug so deep I’ve spilled blood all over the place. Writing bandages me up and tells me we can always paint over that damage.
Writing is always, always there, even when I stay away, even when I’m sure I can’t do it anymore, even when I’m at my lowest with this whole process. Writing tells me all I have to do is write the next word. The next scene. Writing tells me I just have to keep going. Because even with all the times I’ve lied to myself, I know Writing never lies to me. And if I’m going to be honest with myself, I’m going to have to admit that Writing makes my life better. Even when he makes it worse.
Writing’s like that. Complicated. Deep. Difficult. Demanding. Gut wrenchingly honest. So when he tells me to get back in that chair and do the work, I listen. But I don’t tell him that the whole time I’m still telling myself little lies…I can live with that.