Michelle Wittle On Being Honest

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

I am so sorry. I haven’t written in like a week and I know that goes against all my own rules. I haven’t written anything since that ill-fated trip to Boston and I guess what I like to call “the writer’s disease” was just kicking my butt. I mean I would like to know when this disease is going to get the hint that I will ultimately win. Sure, there have been some really rough or dark days and I thought I was a goner, but then I just get this inner strength to pull through and I am still here. Beaten a bit, but still breathing. I’m talking about depression for those of you who haven’t gotten it yet. If I weren’t writing this, I wouldn’t have gotten it. I would be thinking what writer’s disease and do I have it? What are the signs that you have it and is there a cream for it?


Anyhow, I started thinking about being honest and what that really means. Remember when you were a little kid and your mom would always tell you that honesty was the best policy? Normally my mom was saying it because she knew I was lying and was trying to guilt me into a confession. My mother was an odd woman. She would play with bubbles and she once told my sister if she didn’t stop playing with her belly button she would unravel. Sure, you are thinking, oh your mom just said that, but I tend to think that she really believed that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t say she was stupid, I think she was just a bit odd.


Let me back up a bit so you can get the whole picture. I have been having this recent all Michelle’s ex-boyfriends showing up thing happening in my life and it makes me question why. The other day I was at a Phillies’ game and then I saw that guy Steve that I had mentioned in another blog. I certainly went up to him and was like hey, how’s your day? Then I fluttered off not because I was cool like that but because I was shaking and freaking out. I wanted to hug him to see if he still smelled good. Sad, I know, but what can you do? I’m a girl who smells guys. But getting back to the importance of Steve…I started to think why am I seeing this guy when I haven’t seen him in like six years? I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and signs are everywhere. So what was Steve’s sign?


Simply put, to be honest. I was never honest with Steve. Not that I cheated on him or anything, I just wasn’t honest with who I was at the time. In my life, I sometimes tell people things because I want them to feel bad for me and comfort me. I twist things in my head to pretend that telling someone that I am sick will make them run to me. In my mind I think goody I have this great illness and now you will come and sit with me. In truth, I know this doesn’t work because I know I am not being honest.


Recently I reached out to someone and was finally just honest. I am finally not looking for a hello back or anything (sure, it would be nice); I am just finally saying what is honestly in my heart. This is the same lesson we as writers have to put into our work. Before I have wrestled with the idea of changing things to meet market demands. I don’t think that will really work because we aren’t being honest. Kids can always smell when people are being fake and so can readers. We may be telling a story, but our story must be honest.


Sure, my mom was wrong about the belly button thing, but when she said honesty is the best policy…well, she was one hundred percent correct. When you are honest with yourself and your writing, people will pick up on it. You can’t have any regrets when you are honest. Absolutely tell a story, but tell an honest one.


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