Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today's Excuse: I can't write NOW, I have to (insert excuse here)

We're all guilty: We've put off our writing because of more "pressing" matters. After all, if we don't get done with X, we wouldn't be able to concentrate on our writing anyway. It's better to have our minds clear. So, we'll sit right down and start writing as soon as X is done, and of course Y, and, while we're at it, might as well finish Z...

ZZZ. The next thing you know, you're wiped out from all of your non-writing tasks, and there's nothing left for your writing. You rationalize: It couldn't be helped, I had stuff to do...

Excuse Editor's Tip:
Instead of making excuses for not writing, make writing your excuse.

Of course there are things that really must get done. I'm not advocating locking yourself in a room and leaving your responsibilities totally behind. I don't want to get emails from "writing widows" missing their significant others. However, if you've been struggling to get to your writing because of X,Y, Z or a combination of them all, you must re-frame the excuses to make writing a priority in your life.

The Excuse:
I can't write NOW, I have a sink full of dirty dishes!
The Edit:
I can't do those dishes NOW, I have to write for thirty minutes!
These smaller blocks of time will get you in the habit of allowing yourself to write, instead of trying to choose what is more crucial. Neither has to suffer, but when you start thinking of your writing as something that MUST be done, it will take as much urgency as your mundane chores. Why not do the fun stuff--your writing-- first?

The Excuse:
I won't have time to write tomorrow, I'm hanging out with my friends.
The Edit:
I'll meet up with my friends after I'm met tomorrow's writing goals, even if I have to wake up a bit earlier or postpone catching up with my TIVO.
By scheduling your writing time with your other recreational activities, you'll begin to view it like any other planned recreational activity. Would a golfer give up golfing just because she had to schedule a tee- time?

Your writing is just as important as doing housework; it cleans the cobwebs from your mind and freshens your spirit.
Your writing is just as important as spending time with friends and family; it cultivates relationships with your characters and enriches your life experience.
A few other helpful sources:
Time to Write: Professional writers reveal how to fit writing into your busy life
Write the Whole time, no matter how little of it you have: Check out Write or Die!
Write Is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses

What happens when you put your writing at the top of your priorities, even for a few minutes a day? Are you pleased with your progress? Are you surprised your house didn't get swept up in chaos because you pulled out the pens before the pans?

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