A writer’s life is full of excuses. Excuses about why we can’t write, didn’t write or did write but didn’t write as much as we planned. Work has been too hectic and/or I’m working late. Household chores and maintenance are taking up my time. I need a nap because I didn’t sleep well last night. I need to get my things together for tomorrow. The words just aren’t flowing. My writing haven isn’t organized the way that I want it to be and I need to work on that first because it’s distracting. I’m watching a female Blue Jay eating berries right outside my window (that’s my excuse right now). Everything I write is crap. I’ll never get published, so why bother? And so on and so forth. We have an excuse for every possible situation. We don’t even have to think about them…they’re right on the tip of our tongue. Why is that? Do we really believe our excuses when we offer them up or do we know that they are just reasons to avoid writing? Or are they reasons to avoid possible failure? I know that I’m guilty of that. I’m also guilty of wanting time to just be numb to everything and when we are truly engaged when writing, the very last thing that we are is numb. Let me also say that there is nothing wrong with needing that time but we can’t do it from the time we get home from work until bedtime every single night. Writing can be difficult and draining so I completely understand the need to step away sometimes but the trick is…we have to come back to it sooner rather than later. We didn’t start in order to just let it sit in our laptop, halfway completed. We began writing it because we had something to say and we still do. We have to get beyond the excuses and just sit down at our laptop or notebook and write. It might be crap but we can fix that. There is no fixing a blank page except to fill it with words…our words. Make it a ritual. Sit down every single night and write for 30 minutes. Just 30 minutes. Set a timer. Some nights we might only type a paragraph and will be thrilled when the 30 minutes is up but other nights will be different…we will need to write for more than 30 minutes because the words are flowing and when that timer goes off we’ll slap that off button and keep on writing. And during that 30 minutes…no distractions. Just us and our words. We can do 30 minutes. We’ll put it on our calendar, we’ll tell our significant others and friends and we will set our timers and write. After just 30 minutes, we can take out the trash, help the kids with homework, load the dishwasher, do the laundry or just numb ourselves with a movie or some music. Or we’ll keep on writing. No more excuses.
“There are many excuses not to write. Try using writing as an excuse not to do other things.” ~ J. C. Hewitt