I am a master of lies. I tell subtle ones to friends (yes, I love your hair) and spin more elaborate ones for near-strangers (of course I’d love to speak at your event). But it turns out that the person I lie to the most is myself. I realised this last week when I sat down and wrote a blog post called Confessions of an Honest Author. In it I got brutally honest about my feelings around writing, publishing and promoting my books.
The blog post started like this:
I read a book once called ‘Telling Lies for Fun and Profit’. The title of this How-To book for fiction writers, leaves me wondering whether the ‘lies’ writers tell extend to more than their fictional story-lines. I’m not sure why, but amongst writers there’s a pressure to always project that your books are popular, that you’re writing up a storm and that you have publishers chomping at the bit for your next installment. Confession time—none of these statements is true for me.
I went on to share my feelings of disillusionment:
Somewhere on the writing journey I grew disillusioned and discouraged. I learned that I could pour myself into my writing, giving it my absolute best, and it might still avail little. For a while I tried to fool myself that it didn’t matter—that the joy of writing was reward enough in itself. But that was just another lie.
And also, my feelings of hypocrisy and failure:
I’m involved with a ministry that trains Christian writers. It strikes me as ironic that I’m encouraging writers when I myself feel so discouraged. I’m teaching them the importance of building a platform (brand) when I do so little to build my own. I tell them their writing ability is a gift from God (and I believe it) but my own gift often lies unused, kicked under the bed of my life. I feel a pressing sense of failure and shame that I have not done better with the gift he entrusted to me.
Be glad I’m just giving you the highlights (or lowlights) of this unpublished blog post. I felt a little depressed after I wrote it, and you probably would have too.
But then I had an epiphany. Yes, this is how I feel right now, but I don’t have to stay in this place.
If I hadn’t been honest at dismantling what I tell myself and project into the world, I would never have realised this simple, but powerful truth.
Recognising and acknowledging that I’ve become disillusioned (just one small step away from bitter), jealous of other people’s success and have even—in the process—lost my passion for writing, was just what I needed to begin to move forward again.
So, my friend, I encourage you—if you’re feeling stuck in your life, begin by being honest with yourself. Truly, truly honest. Write your own journal entry or never-to-be-published blog post called “Confessions of an Honest …” Sit deeply with those feelings for as long as you need to, until you begin to feel the subtle shift inside you.
Yes, this is how I feel right now, but I don’t have to stay in this place.