Monday, February 13, 2012

The Writers' Excuse Book - 101 excuses you've heard before

I've heard a lot of excuses from wannabe writers about why they don't write. There's not enough time. Life is too hectic. The day job is too demanding. I need to do house-work. I don't have space. I'm too young. I'm too old.

The excuses are usually followed by 'when'. I'll write when I have more time. I'll write when the kids start school. I'll write when the kids leave school. I'll write when the house alterations are done, or when I have my own desk.

If you're really looking for all 101 excuses, you'll have to find another blog. I'm bored already.

The thing is, excuses are not the real problem. They're just symptoms.

It's like when you're stressed at work but won't admit it, so instead you get headaches, stomach aches, the common cold. And no matter how many antibiotic prescriptions you get, you still stay sick. Why? Because you're not dealing with the core issue, which is whatever is causing your stress.

Do you really want to be permanently sick, or tired, or depressed? Or do you want to be successful?
You can't have both.

Do you want to be a writer or an aspiring writer? We move from being the latter to being the former jthe moment we stop with the excuses and start with the writing.

Ane here's how we can do it: right here, right now I want us to stop everything and take a moment to examine WHY you're making excuses. What are we afraid of?

Take your time. I'll wait.

So any ideas yet? And don't give me that 'fear of failure' or 'fear of success' nonsense. That's an easy answer. I want you to dig deeper.

Are you afraid people will laugh at you? Are you afraid of pissing off your family by taking time for yourself?
They won't. Because they love you and they want you to succeed every bit as much as you do. [And if they don't, they're not people you want to know anyhow]

Are you avoiding your mansucript because you think it'll bite you? Or because you think your story sucks? (Of course it sucks - because you haven't actually written it!)

In the interests of transparency, I'll admit that my usual excuse is that I'm too tired. And usually by the time I sit down to write, I am. Because by that time I've wasted precious time doing everything else BUT writing. Why? Probably because laziness is one of my worst qualities, and I'm afrid of work. And until I actually get back into writing, I forget that it feels less like work and more like fun.

Okay, so now we've worked out what excuses you're making. And we understand why we're making them. And I bet anything we're now sitting there looking at our excuses and thinking "That's just daft?"

I hope so, because now we can get back to doing what we love: writing.

PS: On Friday I blogged over at The Minxes about my new guru Kristen Lamb. She has even more butt-kicking blog posts along these lines, which you can read here and here.


  1. Great post, Romy, you are absolutely right. If you sit down with the time you have and cut out a couple of hours of TV on a night or get up earlier I truly believe everyone has the ability to scrape together even an hour a day and use that towards their dream. Though I am totally in awe of parents who work and write ... you are amazing xxx

  2. I always think one word at a time. If I can write a sentence, then a paragraph, then, heck, even a whole page, I'm further ahead than I was before I started. great post, Romy. Just do it. There's no time like right now, and once you have something, you can rewrite it later!