I am not really a writer.

I know, I know, my profile says that I AM a writer.  But that is a lie.*  And I am ashamed of it.  I've never been published.  If you Google "Tracy Thunderbolt" you will see no lengthy list of critically-acclaimed short stories, novels, and prestigious literary awards.  You might see a picture of a female wrestler in a killer costume, but that's not me, either.**

However, I like to think that optimism is more powerful than we give it credit for.  If I call myself a writer, then maybe I'll convince myself that I really am one, and brilliant writing will follow.  Plus, a writer is one who writes. THEREFORE, WE ARE ALL WRITERS. COME, LET US WRITE.

But when optimism just isn't enough, books on writing also help.  In less than a month I have to start work on my senior thesis. This will most likely consist of me burrowing in my room, staring wide-eyed at the wall and clutching the seat of my chair in a perpetual cold sweat as the months pass and I come no closer to finishing the novel I have to turn in at the end of March.  Around mid-February, I will suddenly snap to life and write non-stop for weeks on end--scribbling on toilet paper and carving paragraphs into the dining hall tables with a fork.

It's going to be great!

"For my next feat," I sometimes shout in my head when I think about the daunting year ahead of me, "I shall write a novel--entirely in English--in seven months!  With my eyes closed! And one hand behind my back! While I eat an apple! And pet this kitten!"  If I add enough to the list, it reminds me of something else I have to do, and voila!  I've avoided working on an outline all summer this way.

But now it's time to get down to business.  I've been reading a lot of books on how to rite rull good, which makes me feel like I'm being productive even though I still have no characters, setting, or...plot.***  How Not to Write a Novel is the very best that I've read so far:

Or, Fluffy Must Die: One Brave Feline's Tale of Crime and Redemption

The book is supa-funny, giving two hundred examples of awful writing.  Like this: 

"Suddenly! she spotted Jack, and her heart melted--like a heart that had been frozen, but then was subjected to heat." 

It makes me laugh the whole time I read it, but then I look back at my own writing and my laughter turns to great, wracking sobs of self-doubt.  After a couple minutes of that, I usually just make a sandwich and remind myself that if I cleaned up a little I could always be a trophy wife.  It helps.

*But only the writing part! I'm still a great pogo-sticker and whatnot! I'm not a total phony!!
**Dear God, I have done nothing with my life!
***What do I have?  A new coffeemaker and a jaunty beret that makes me look like a real author.  Do you think a turtleneck would be overkill?

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