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5 Writing Excuses You Should Eliminate Now

by Jennifer on March 16, 2011

This is a guest post from Tara Miller of PsychologyDegree.net

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all take a solo writer’s getaway to a cozy little cabin on an island in the center of a pristine lake accessible only by rowboat?

It would have a fully stocked pantry and refrigerator, Internet access, plenty of natural lighting, and a reliable computer where we could devote hours to writing chapter after chapter of that book we’ve been trying to write for years.

Best of all? No one would bother us.

While a life like that sure would be nice, it’s not reality for most aspiring writers. Many of us have full-time jobs that don’t involve writing, a spouse and/or kids chomping at the bit for our attention as soon as we get off work, and a host of other responsibilities.

We’ve got a hundred reasons not to write, but if we’re ever going to finish what we’ve started, we must eliminate reasons not to write.

Let’s examine those reasons:

1) “I don’t have enough time”

On some days, this very well may be true, but it’s rarely true on every day of the week. Unsurprisingly, this is often the same reason people provide for not working out!

There’s always an hour you can carve out of your day either early in the morning or late at night to do the writing you love. While an hour every day or every other day may not be ideal, it’s a great way to make progress on your book or freelance piece.

For the very few of us who truly don’t have that extra hour, we may have to cut some items out of our lives to clear the way for writing time that is, if writing is truly important to us.

2) “I’m too stressed”

Stress is a reality we all face, and to write effectively and preserve our overall health, we must find ways of alleviating this stress.

Meditation, prayer, positive affirmations, journaling about the things weighing on our mind and light exercise, such as a brisk walk, can work wonders in how we feel at the end of the day. Even 10 minutes of engagement in any of these activities can clear your mind enough to write.

For chronic stress or anxiety that keeps you up at night, consider speaking with a certified professional. Chances are a lot more than your writing is being affected.

3) “I’ve got writer’s block”

This is a legitimate reason many writers make a dead stop in the middle of their book or project. However, oddly enough, the best remedy for writer’s block is to write more.

While you wait for inspiration to strike, draft some character profiles for your novel or type up some research notes on the topic of your writing. Do some side exercises in poetry or draft a short story based on a flat character from your novel.

The goal is to keep the writing flowing until the next step for the book or project becomes clear to you.

4) “I’m too old/young”

Nowhere is it written that there is an ideal age for writing a book, launching a freelance career or transitioning to a writing-intensive career. Some of us may need to take a few courses in creative or professional writing to build up a rusty or undeveloped skillset, but there’s certainly no perfect age for writing.

And if Justin Bieber can write a memoir (albeit likely with the help of a ghostwriter), you’re probably not too young either if you can tell your story in a compelling way.

5) “No one will like what I write anyway”

You’ll never know if you don’t keep trying. Even rejection is a learning process, if you allow yourself to learn from your weaknesses. If you don’t think your writing is up to snuff, attend writing conferences, take writing classes and read writing that you consider excellent to hone your skills.

What reasons do you give yourself not to write? And how have you learned to overcome them?

About the Author: Tara Miller particularly enjoys writing about psychology degrees.  Questions and comments can be sent to: miller.tara23@gmail.com.

If you’d like to write for Procrastinating Writers, be sure to check out the guest post guidelines and then submit your post idea.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megs March 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thanks for the timely remnder. Another one I keep battling with is, “I’m in the wrong mood.” Bear with me a sec. When I’m trying to capture a specific mood on paper that is generally foreign to me (and imagine writing several stories with this same general tone), then I need to get ME in the right space before I can get it written correctly.

There’s the excuse. Here’s the solution.

Get yourself in the mood!

Read a book with that mood. Watch a movie. Listen to a song. Find whatever has that mood and get it into yourself and write, girl. (Yes, I order myself around out loud. Drives my sister batty.)

It’s got flavors of several excuses up there, but it’s a lot more insidious until I could get a name on it.

2 Jennifer March 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

@Megs Have you ever tried creating a “mood” playlist? I find that if I need to be in a specific mood/mindset I can easily get there by building a playlist on my iPod. So, for example, if I have to be in a “love” mood I listen to a lot of John Mayer.

3 Mallory Snow March 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Please sign me up for that vacation. 😀

4 Karyn March 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

I like the idea of a mood playlist.

5 Megs March 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I’ve done a mood playlist that works awesomely for one mood. I haven’t found much of anything that always works for the mood of this particular series, “Simplicity.” Frankly, I don’t have a lot of books or movies that quite do it either, which is a real pain. But short answer: yes. When you’ve got the right music, it’s awesome.

6 Laura Townshend March 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm

For me, the hard part was getting my blogs going. I put up a few posts on Big Grey Horse and then became puzzled about where to go from there. Am I reaching my target market? What if my target market doesn’t read my blog, but others do? I was so focused on writing for a particular segment, I froze. And rather than churning out cruddy copy that didn’t have my heart and soul behind it, I stopped.

For my sister’s missing persons site, I was stumped. Besides her story, what in the heck would I write about? How do I find those cases that desperately need publicity? Who will talk to me? Who even cares about this subject?

I talked with a friend and posed the questions. She, too, struggled with the same issues when she began her sites. All she could say was “be authentic.”

Thing is, I decided to write. And write some more. Now the ideas are flooding in. But it feels good, no matter the audience I’m reaching. I know my words touch people, and I know my words are helping someone.

The main thing is showing up and taking care of my web real estate. I dig blogging and I know how important it is to take care of what’s mine. My two fledgling blogs are my children and shame on me for ignoring them or thinking what I write wasn’t interesting enough.

There are no excuses – just do it. 🙂

7 Megs March 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I love your blog, Laura. I’ve bookmarked for further reading.

8 Jennifer March 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

@Laura You make many excellent points. And at the end of the day, you’re right: the main thing IS showing up and taking care of your web real estate. No excuses 🙂 I just subscribed to your blog. Looking forward to reading more from you!

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