your brain is lying to you

Or my brain is lying to me, at least.

Because never skip an opportunity to use Saga’s Lying Cat. Via

I’m not talking about the subjectivity of reality or how much subjective experiences do/do not matter, but something far more mundane: generalized anxiety. I wasn’t diagnosed until my twenties but it’s been a problem all my life. All these stupid things everything does from time to time are my system defaults.  Short version: I can’t trust my intuition because it’s a paranoid idiot.

Not that it’s not fixable. With treatment I no longer jump at every damn thing but risk assessment isn’t a gut thing so I have to consciously overwrite my bad mental habits.

This is on my mind because I’m on several learning curves and the constant forebrain check of the stuff my lizard brain can’t handle has been exhausting. Doesn’t stop me fervently overthinking everything though, and the writing is falling into a spiral perfectionism paralysis. I’m digging out, but it’s taking time so I just listen to my internal Lying Cat hissing lying, lying, lying.

How does your mind lie to you?

perfectionism paralysis

scissors going after a single blade of grass
My old first pass rewrite/editing approach. Courtesy

Twenty-eight pages.

That’s how many I’ve managed to get through in this first round of edits. Which sounds good until you realize I started rewriting in July.


I do think I’ve figured out what’s slowed me to a snail’s pace – it’s excessive perfectionism. I’m doing sentence-level polishing when I should concern myself with the broader issues of story structure: filling in scene gaps, answering research questions, and pacing.

The root cause isn’t lacking “flow” or time – it’s terror of showing my beta readers something less than perfect. But worrying over every turn of phrase at this stage probably makes nonsensical dialog worse, widens plot holes, takes vague cause/effect into “what was I thinking?” land.

My resolution for March: instead of a scene a week, a scene every 2 days, fixing the big stuff. Let’s see if I can do it.