In the most base terms, writers are liars. They make stories up, convince you to feel something for people who don’t exist (speaking about fiction writers, obviously. Calm down), and then leave you to carry some feeling you didn’t intend, necessarily, to have.
It’s part of what makes the business so fun, really.
But there’s another sort of lying that goes on with writers, and it has everything to do with recognizing themselves/identifying themselves as worthwhile writers to their audience. I’m thinking particularly about when I applied to Arcadia’s MFA. I was a writer in as much as I was writing, but that pretty much was the complete picture. I had a blog and I wrote little flash pieces on it. I wasn’t published anywhere, I wasn’t making any sort of impact on the writing world beyond buying books and daydreaming.
So I sorta, kinda, maybe lied to Arcadia and to myself during the admission process. I cleaned up some of my blog posts and sent those in alongside two pages worth of ego-laden declarations of my craft and my hopes as a writer.
I had no idea what I was writing–all flim-flam.
But it worked, and I got in. Now two years and one big piece of paper later, I’m willing to believe that lie that I told Arcadia and myself: I do have a small slice of the writing world that I’m making an impact in, and I do have a certain style, craft, and hope in my writing (I wanted to write writerdom there, to be honest. Let’s just accept that for what it is).
What I’ve learned is this: the best way to reach what you want to be in this business is to convince yourself of a lie (I am a published author/I am a sought after writer/etc) and then do everything in your power to make that lie a truth. The trick of it is allowing yourself to believe you are something much bigger than your publication list is. I mean, I have less than 10 publications in the past 2 years and I’ve convinced myself that people are going to read and appreciate what I want to say about writing. How’s that for a lie?!