What we talk about [to ourselves] when we talk about writing* 

“I did the revision which improved the tightness but muddled the arc.” “I loved the first draft but must say that even though this is painful, the soon-to-be finished product in the form of [fill in the blank: essay, article, story, poem, book, etc] will be at a level I never understood before or thought I was capable of writing.” “Maybe my piece is a combination of depth and commercial.” “It got accepted on the first try at my dream market.” “It got rejected. But I got a really positive rejection from the editor.” “I never heard back.” “Oh my God, s/he called/emailed/twittered me right back!” “I love writing; I can’t not write.” “I hate writing; I can’t not write.” “My baby finally found a home.” “That editor doesn’t understand my take; s/he’s been at their job too long and is probably a frustrated writer at heart.” “This is what I’m meant to do…no matter what: Write.” “I needed a Xanax before workshop.” “What’s wrong with writing in second person? “Present tense doesn’t annoy me.” “I write at the same time every day.” “I write 2 pages a day.” “I write 500 words a day.” “I hate this fucking manuscript.” “I haven’t written in 3 weeks.” “He’s/she’s jealous.” “I’m jealous.” “I can’t believe I was ever a social worker/therapist [fill in your own blank].” “I think I should go back to being a social worker/therapist [fill in your own blank].”  “I was always meant to do this; it’s why I’m here.” “WTF?” “This is supposed to be fun—right?”
*Hat tip to Raymond Carver.
—Meredith Resnick
 

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