Writing excuses—every writer deals with them. From the trivial to the major, writing excuses abound. Their single purpose is to stop you in your tracks, far short of ever achieving your dream of writing a book.
You’re good at making these excuses, too. Each one comes wrapped in logical reasoning, sounding like good common sense. They’re subtle. They even sound wise, but each one justifies your decision to not pursue your writing.
For awhile you live with the excuses, lording them over that dream you have of writing a book. But this only holds your inner writer hostage. Are YOU free to write…or are you in bondage to writing excuses?
Writing Excuses: The Big Three
Writing excuses abound. As a writer, you can come up with as many reasons not to write as a five-year-old can come up with for not putting away his toys. And some of yours, be honest, are just about as childish!
I pull any and all of them into three main categories. Yours will show up buried somewhere in one of these as well.
1. Too busy—I don’t have the time.
2. Perfection—it has to be perfect.
3. Procrastination—I’ll do it later.
It is imperative for you as a writer to be honest with yourself. Recognize when you are standing motionless before one of your writing excuses. Face yourself and call it what it is. This is the only way to set yourself up for victory in achieving your writing goals.
Excuses are merely nails used to build a house of failure. ~ American Proverb
This part of the writing process is entirely up to you. Even if you are working with a writing coach, it is still your responsibility to take the action. Your coach will give you guidance, timely advice, and inspiration within your writing project, but will not do any of it for you.
Take a moment to think about writing excuses that pop up in front of you. How are you kept from writing? What excuse gives you the most hassle?
Identifying this about yourself is a pivotal step in moving you toward being a successful writer. It is an ongoing element for everyone. Learning to know what your excuses are and how to defeat them is a huge key!
Solutions For Each Writing Excuse
Yes, there is a solution, or a work-around, for every writing excuse you encounter. Knowing this is as important and advantageous for you as recognizing your own excuses.
So, let’s look at these three main categories and bring answers to the problems. None of the answers are difficult. The power to defeat each one lies in changing your thoughts and beliefs about it.
Solution for “Too Busy—I Don’t Have Time”
First of all, “the time” rarely, if ever, comes. Writers, particularly new ones, tend to look for that perfect time to start writing. But it doesn’t exist.
Secondly, the truth about time, for a writer, is that you have to create it. Yes, you are busy. So is everyone around you. Why is someone else celebrating the launch of their new book while yours still lies in ragged thoughts and rumpled notes? That someone else created time in their schedule to write.
I always say, If anyone can do something, then I can do it, too! This totally applies to creating time to write. Time for your writing project is a gift you give to yourself. It is precious and you are worth it.
A half hour here, an hour there…the time you create turns into words on the page, which turn into your book, which turns into your writing dream coming true, which turns into you being super happy!
Thirdly, time is deceptive. It’s easy as a writer to think that you need a huge block of time in which to write. You look for hours, weekends, vacation weeks. Those might all be possible for some, but for most writers, these would be considered a luxury.
To defeat this deception about time, you need to learn how to eat that proverbial elephant. That elephant is huge (just like your writing project). How are you ever going to eat that thing? Easy! One bite at a time!
When and where can you create time to write 300 words…500 words…1000 words a day? It’s there somewhere. You may have to make some changes to find it, but it’s there. That’s how you get your writing project started and completed.
Solution for “Perfection—It Has to Be Perfect.”
The thought of perfection, in terms of writing, is a total myth, a dangerous one. Why? It has the power to keep you from ever writing a single word that anyone else gets to read.
I know you’re out there. Your journal is filled with entries that reveal your heart and soul and all your deepest beliefs. But no one will ever read a single word of it. The false ideal of perfection stops you.
Perfect does not exist! It has nothing to do with writing. It’s a deception you have taken on as reality.
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. ~ Mark Twain
The truth is you need a story, not an English degree! Yes, it’s true. Think about this.
You may have a string of initials after your name and be writing a formal academic work, but you still need an editor! If you write that piece from the perspective of perfection rather than the depths of your material, your book won’t even be good, let alone perfect.
The antidote to perfection is two-fold: first draft and editor. Put these two together excellent writing results.
As you write, focus on your story, what you have to say. Don’t think punctuation, sentence structures, voice, grammar, etc. That comes later in the editing.
Your part is to open up and write your story. That comes from you. Telling your internal naysayer and editor to shut up so you can write frees you to tell your story. That is the most important thing!
Once your story is written in its first draft, then comes the process of cleaning things up and straightening things out. This is enormously important when you are writing a book.
Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. ~ Salvador Dali
Solution for “Procrastination—I’ll Do It Later.”
Sometimes it feels like writing would be easier if the planets would just align right! And sometimes I’ve caught myself acting like I was waiting for this to happen before I would do something. I’m probably not alone in this…at least, I hope I’m not!
Here’s another myth for you. It’ll help break you out of that holding pattern where you don’t write because the circumstances in your life aren’t just right. Perfect circumstances never come! Life happens!
I know a single mother of three little girls who worked long hours and took time raising her kids. Through those tough circumstances, she wrote her book. Others have created successful blogs. How does that happen?
You cannot focus on the circumstances. Focus on your writing dream in spite of the circumstances.
I said earlier that the power to defeating writing excuses lies in changing your thoughts and beliefs about them. That is so true when it comes to procrastination.
Your rationale for not writing sounds so reasonable, so logical. It even comes across at times as being full of great wisdom. And so you stay…stuck…in terms of your writing.
It is true that life is happier when you’re active. There is something about us humans that do well with a few pots boiling away on the stove of our life. Work, family, church, school, dreams, goals, hobbies, interests…we have the amazing ability to juggle and do the things we truly want.
Where does your writing dream fall in importance in your life? Why are you saying No! to your writing dream? There is a way for you to write right now! Find it!
Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E.L. Doctorow
The Benefits of a Writing Coach
These are some of the main benefits derived from working with a writing coach:
• Get help dismissing your excuses
• Assistance with all aspects of book writing and publishing
• Deal with specific issues and challenges within your project
• Get your book actually written and published
• You achieve your dream
A writing coach helps put teeth to your decision to step up and write your book. Sign on with your coach and you now have a new level of accountability. And you just added a full arsenal of help and inspiration for your writing project.
Every writer encounters issues and questions specific to their project. It is invaluable to have input from that coach to guide you in your decision making and in your writing choices. This keeps you plugged into your project, and that keeps you plugged into your dream.
Your own writing excuses likely fall into one of these three categories. Identify them and seek the solution for each one. This exercise is well worth the time and effort every time you do it.
Writing excuses pop up over and over again. They are repeat offenders. Stay alert to spot them before they take over your thinking and stop you. Be quick to defeat each one with the truth because, as you now know, each one is a myth dressed up like wisdom!
Tackle your writing excuses now! Live your writing dream! Remember, you eat that ol’ elephant one bite at a time!
Hire Your Writing Coach
I’m ready to work with you in your writing project! Drop me an email now to step out of your excuses and into your writing dream! Come on! Just do it!
Thank you & God Bless!