Excuses, Excuses

calvin_and_hobbes_inspiration

In my personal experience, twenty-something aspiring writers are good at a few things — avoiding phone conversations, Call of Duty, and making excuses to not write.

I’ve heard some pretty hilarious excuses lately, and I feel the need to address them.

Excuse #1: “All the authors I admire were really old when their books got published. So, I just think I haven’t really lived enough life yet to write something good.”

First of all, LOL. Second of all: Write something really bad. Write really bad stuff for a long, long time. So when you’re George R.R. Martin’s age, you have enough practice under your belt to churn out your own Game of Thrones before you die.

Excuse #2: “I only write when I’m inspired.”

Just, no. This is kind of the same as the first excuse. If you write every day, even when you’re not inspired, then you’re getting better and better, and preparing yourself for that magical moment when inspiration hits.

Excuse #3: “I don’t have anything to write about.”

I really believe that everyone has something of value to say, and everyone has an interesting story. I think people who deny this are afraid of writing, but I definitely don’t believe that they have nothing to write about.

I am not immune to the seduction of a great excuse. I’ve been guilty of using all of these, and only recently started to call myself on it.

My excuses usually begin with the seemingly innocent: “I’ll write as soon as…” then end with:

-”…this rerun of Friends is over.”
-”…I beat this level of Tetris.”
-”…I finish reading this Buzzfeed article about animals that look like celebrities.”
-”…I discover the meaning of life.”

But in actuality, I’m not going to write in any of these situations. No one can watch just one episode of Friends. Once I beat a level of Tetris I must continue onto the next. Buzzfeed articles are surrounded by links to other even COOLER, FUNNIER Buzzfeed articles. And I already know the meaning of life (sorry I can’t tell you).

Excuses are just another way to procrastinate. There’s never an incredibly ideal time to write. And waiting for inspiration is sometimes like waiting for a miracle.

Let’s all just call ourselves on the excuses we make, and instead, put all that energy we use trying to come up with them, into writing something awesome.

What’s the MAIN excuse you tell yourself when you don’t want to write? I want to hear it!

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13 thoughts on “Excuses, Excuses

  1. Adele says:

    Number 3 with a slight modification… I don’t have anything worthwhile to write about. Everyone has the right to be heard (and equally to be judged for it if it’s crap, ha)

    • emilybolcik says:

      Yeah! If I don’t have anything to write about I purposely write the dumbest thing I can think of. I feel like it’s my way of giving myself permission to write absolutely anything.

  2. abdul j. says:

    ‘I’ll do it before bed’ ..and I’ve been fairly good about actually doing it lately, BUT the downside is I keep procrastinating and going sleep ridiculously late. And I spend all day half-stressed that I wont have anything TO write lol. Definitely need a change in writing habits.

    • emilybolcik says:

      Same. I’m a late night writer, even though it can throw off my sleep schedule. I can not write in the morning. Or maybe I’ve just convinced myself that.

  3. juliusmsanz says:

    I made those excuses before, don’t make them anymore. Hey I kinda rhymed! What makes me take my time sometimes is the fact that I spend too much time working out my structure before I write. That usually puts me off.

    • emilybolcik says:

      I find that outlining and working out structure is the hardest part for me and the place where I get the most discouraged.

  4. Harliqueen says:

    I’m a twenty-something writer with a great ability at procrastination. Unfortunately it also usually does involve some kind of video-game, where I just have to get past this check or past this cut-scene! But I always tell myself if I don’t write how do I expect to get anywhere in my career? It usually works and I’ve been writing like a mad thing of late!

    Great article :D

    • emilybolcik says:

      I tell myself the same thing! The longer I put off writing, the longer it’s going to be until my professional writing career begins. It totally works.

  5. hilarycustancegreen says:

    I’m a much older writer, I can technically please myself when I write, but I feel I need an empty conscience/desk/laundry basket… all emails answered… I too end up going to bed late, long after my husband, and I do recognise that these are excuses. Write first; sort out the rest afterwards.

  6. sgiado says:

    My favorite excuse is reading about writing. LOL. I’m always convincing myself that I’m studying when in reality, I’m either procrastinating or frightened of the page.

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