I definitely plan to write on my novel today, but the unruly committee in my head, which clanks through the halls of my cerebral cortex drooling like the walking dead, has other plans. And they've got the portable medieval rack and scythe to back it up. They're B-movie horror cliches in black hoods who've got Spielberg as producer and Wes Craven directing, so the screen's gonna be blood-sopped before the opening credits stop rolling. Oh yeah, it's serious now. I'm gonna need my warrior woman armor today, and an AK-47 with silver hollow points to stop their scorched-brain policy.
Yesterday, I cleaned my house (which happens with the regularity of a balanced budget) because--LIE #1--if everything's just so, without a dust-bunny film draped over the furniture, I can then begin to write funnier-longer-better. . .add hyphenate of your choice. I'm not alone in this tactic. You know who you are. I know people who have stopped writing in order to clean their bathrooms with toothbrushes, like speed freaks mainlining steroids.
Here's a fun one. I have scoured Oklahoma City, like a serial killer searching for prey, so that--LIE #2--I can have the exact purple-inked pen I need for inspiration. (Ink may also be green, or brown, or a new color that is unavailable from any pen company anywhere.)
LIE #3--I need to do more research first. The rational part of my brain fights to break through, saying "Why don't you use all the stuff you've already got?" This is a particularly effective argument because what couldn't use more research, for god's sake? ANSWER: The sequence you've spent 30 hours Googling and 15 minutes writing on. Try getting off your fat ass and string a few words together. Your mother would be so proud.
LIE #4--I can't write because I don't know what I want to write about. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!! We don't write because we already know what we want to write about. We write so we can discover what we want to write about. Gotcha on that one, huh?
So if you're still with me here, I'd like to know which of your own lies you believe. Maybe I can add them to my own list. Please leave a comment. What are the lies you tell yourself to keep you from doing the one thing that you love with a passion, the one thing that makes you feel truly alive, the thing that sets your free? I await your replies, which will, ironically, keep you from writing your own stuff.
Linda Lee McDonald
I live comfortably poor in Oklahoma City, have a backyard garden in constant need of a weedeater manicure, am visited by birds every day when they bathe in my mixing bowl birdbath, and am blessed with my two rescue dogs, Jake and Roxie, who save me every day of my life.