What’s Your Excuse?

Writers seem to agree that there is nothing more intimidating than a blank page. I would argue that the tasks of outlining, editing, writing a query, writing a synopsis, pitching, and even blogging are just as hard. It’s all work, and as with any work, it is hard to rally the willpower to do it.

And excuses are easy to come by. I have a full-time job. I have to get the laundry done, dinner made, homework checked, clothes ironed, children played with and then bathed, books read, dishes washed, cat fed, litter box emptied, floor swept, mail sorted, counters cleaned…I could go on. Want me to go on? Okay, here goes (deep breath) – dance class attended, trash taken out, bathrooms cleaned, beds made, groceries purchased, doctors visited, meetings attended, yard work done, social engagements met…okay, that’s enough. I’m spent. Can I just sit down and watch The Bachelor in Paradise now? Cause I’m, like, three weeks behind, and I’m pretty sure that there are fantasy suite scenes to watch.

Something tells me that your list of excuses looks pretty similar to mine. But we have to persevere, people! We have to stay on task. We have to say, ‘No, Chris Harrison! I can live without the most shocking rose ceremony ever. I can!’

‘But how?’ you say.

Someone in my writing club suggested using time sheets. She sets herself a requirement of eight hours per week – an extra workday if you will – and she records her time. How brilliant is that?

Good luck to those of you who decide to try it. It’s not a wonder drug. But, for me, it is a concrete way to see how little writing I’ve been doing. It’s a tool that will hopefully keep me from making quite so many excuses in the future.

16 thoughts on “What’s Your Excuse?

  1. Probably a good idea with the time sheets but I could see myself becoming even more stressed than usual and beating myself up that I should be doing more – that’s just me though. I’m great at excuses!

  2. I’m with you. Lauren; I’ll throw down with a blank page without batting an eye but will run screaming from the prospect of outlining, yes, I will. Now I must ask: what unbelievably fabulous place is pictured in your blog header? I must go there.

    • Hi Eve! Ugh! Outlining! Terrible stuff indeed. 🙂
      As to the fabulous place – yes, you must go there! It is Mont St. Michel, off the coast of Normandy, France. It is an abbey and a huge tourist attraction, famous for its history and the fast tidal flood of its bay. I have had a long-standing fascination with the place, which is why my book, The Scars of Martyrs, is set there!

  3. I like the idea of the time sheets, but I suspect that – for me – the very action of drawing up the sheets, calculating the hours and filling them in, would become an all-consuming activity in itself, leaving me “no time” to write because I am a master of procrastination! I have found that waking up earlier than everyone else in the house and working for an hour on my current WIP is still the best way to score writing time. My brain is fresh and ready for new adventures, and the household is quiet. And DON’T make the mistake of checking e-mails, other people’s blogs or Facebook until the day’s writing has been done. Now, if I could just practice what I preach…

    • I really like the idea of waking up and getting my writing done before the day starts. But I get up at 5:30 just to get the kids off to school and to make it to work on time. God help me, but I am not getting up at 4:00 in the morning!! 🙂 I squeeze writing in during the day, and there are days when I don’t write at all. We just do the best we can, don’t we?

  4. I taught writing long enough to know that no one approach works for everyone. If I tried time sheets, they’d annoy me enough that I’d stop writing, just from spite. Or–more likely–lose the time sheets within a day. But if they work for someone, then they’re good.

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