I know people lie all the time. I know these people get powerful, get fame, get money, get whatever… I know that their lies are there to shelter them, protect them, because they are afraid that their past mistakes or inadequacies will make people love them. Or just because they are ashamed of what they’ve done and who they are.
I know that we all do it.
That we all lie.
I’m not talking about the white lies where you tell someone their butt looks good when it doesn’t.
I’m talking about the lies we create to try to dig ourselves out of humiliating experiences. You know what I mean right? When you mess up on your job. When you mess up in your book. When you mess up in your relationship.
Those kinds of lies.
Lying makes you sick. It makes your heart sick. It makes your body sick. I don’t want you to be sick.
I knew a man who was in an insufferable marriage. Before you judge, just know it was bad. He had an affair and then he had eczema, terrible eczema. He finally divorced his wife and the eczema was gone. Yes, correlation doesn’t always equal causation. I get that. But I also get that lying messes us up.
According to an article in the Atlantic, people lie about 11 times every week. It’s no wonder we as a society have forgotten what truth is, right? We lie an average of 572 times a year. And sometimes, telling the truth is seen as the act of the unsophisticated.
Yeah. I am not cool with that. I’m not cool with lying to get ahead or lying to get out of trouble or lying so that your public persona seems better than it is. Because I know that lying hurts your insides. I want your insides to feel good, darn it.
In Gunderman’s story for the Atlantic, he writes:
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame followed 110 people over a period of ten weeks. Half of the participants were asked to stop lying over this period of time, and the other half were not. Both groups took weekly polygraph tests to determine how many times they had lied in the previous week. Those who were able to reduce by three the number of lies they told had four fewer mental health complaints (such as feeling tense) and three fewer physical health complaints (such as headaches) than those who did not.
So how do you not lie?
- Sign an ethics agreement with yourself.
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Realize that if you lose your job, or mess up big-time, people can and still love you. They’ll relate to you because it’s happened to them, too. And if they can’t? If your act of imperfection is unforgivable to them, then move on honestly. It will be better for you in the long run.
- For some people writing down the Ten Commandments or similar articles of behavior is a reminder to be honest and helps prevent dishonesty.
- Don’t pick a job or a lifestyle or a relationship that rewards dishonesty and encourages it. Here’s an old story about that with Wells Fargo.
Lying and Writing
The perception is that all writers are liars. We construct these fictional worlds that aren’t truth. Therefore we must be lying, right? We must be suffering from the same health effects that liars-in-real-life do.
Writers create entire worlds. Yes. We fabricate details. Yes. We make people up. Yes.
But we aren’t experts in lying. We’re experts in truth.
“Wait… What…?” you’re probably saying.
But here’s the thing. Writers create worlds. But we create worlds out of truths. We put in key details. We focus on being believable. But what we’re doing is using art to tell the truths of our own stories, of the world’s stories, which is the truth of people’s stories and existence.
The best writers are the best truth tellers because their story matters to them. The depth of what they’re writing about (grief, racism, oppression, love, justice) is the truth that needs to come out of their soul. That’s the opposite of lying.
So, go write. If you’re writing your inner truth? That’s only going to lift you up.
Do Good Wednesday
Make a pact with yourself to tell the truth as much as you can. It’s that simple.
Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.
I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.
So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links about them are all up there in the header on top of the page on my website carriejonesbooks.blog. There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.
Write! Submit! Support! Begins Again in July!
It’s not easy to create a thriving writing career in the children’s industry, but what if you didn’t have to do it alone? Write. Submit. Support is a six-month program designed by author and Writing Barn Founder Bethany Hegedus. Classes are led by top creatives in the children’s industry field; they’ll give you the tips and tools you need to take both your manuscripts and your developing career to the next level. Think of it as an MFA in craft with a certificate in discovering (or recovering) your writer joy! – Writing Barn
More about the class I specifically teach? It is right here.
Here is what current students are saying:
Carrie is all strengths. Seriously. She’s compassionate, funny, zesty, zany, insightful, honest, nurturing, sharp, and…Wow, that’s a lot of adjectives. But really, I couldn’t praise Carrie enough as a mentor. I’ve long respected her writing, but being talented at something doesn’t automatically mean you will be a great mentor. Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching. Aside from the specific feedback she offers, she also writes letters in response to the process letter and analyses. These letters have been so impactful for me as I writer that I plan to print them and hang them up. Creepy? Maybe. But they are so inspiring. And that, in the most long-winded way possible, is how I would summarize Carrie as a mentor—inspiring.