I love to write. The feeling you get when you see your story come together, your world take shape and your characters come to life is incomparable. So why is it that lately, I find myself procrastinating?
This past weekend, I took my own advice and stopped making excuses. Finally getting some real work done on the edit of my first novel, I managed to get through three chapters in one day. That may not sound impressive, but it’s more than I have written in quite some time.
Despite the fact that I am in the midst of a highly time consuming project at work, my goal has been to continue working on the edit every night, riding on the momentum I built up over the weekend. Since I enjoy writing, that shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong.
Here’s the problem:
During the day, my job is so time consuming right now that I barely have time to run to the bathroom or grab lunch. When I get home, I need to make dinner and I make a point of sitting with my kids, going over their day, getting updates on school, etc… Then, I head upstairs to my sanctuary and this is where things go awry.
Full of intent, I grab my Mac to get to work and always find some way to get so distracted that I almost forget to write. There are emails to be read, social media sites to catch up on now that I don’t have the time during the day, research to do; you get the picture. Then of course, there is the fact that extreme quiet unnerves me, so I turn the television on and get caught up in what I’m watching or I put music on and get so into singing along with it, that what I’m reading/writing isn’t sticking and I end up going over and over the same thing and I don’t make any real progress.
I know, I know, excuses. I end up procrastinating so much that by the time I focus and get back to the writing, I’m so wiped out that I’m passing out on my keyboard. Nevertheless, I keep trying. One day I’ll find a cure for my procrastination, but today isn’t that day.
We all do it. At some point, we put more effort into making excuses for why we can’t write than we do actually writing. How many are valid reasons and how many are nothing more than hot air?
- I feel too exhausted to write.
- I’m feeling overwhelmed emotionally.
- I don’t know what to write about.
- There is just no time in the day.
- I’m too distracted by the internet to write.
- I’m distracted by video games, sports or TV and don’t want to write.
- My writing is terrible and I’m not in the mood to do it anymore.
- I have too many ideas and I don’t know where to focus my energy.
- I don’t know if this is what I want to write about.
- I would rather hang out with my friends, family members or spouse.
10 Reasons Why You Can
- Writing does not have to be a marathon event. You don’t need to sit down for hours at a time in order to make progress. If writing is something that you are truly passionate about, push yourself beyond the limits you think you have and when your body tells you that enough is enough, then you know you’ve truly exhausted yourself.
- Writing can be a form of therapy. Put that emotion into your writing and use it to purge yourself of the overwhelming feelings.
- Write about anything that comes to mind. The simple act of writing can help trigger inspiration.
- Again, you do not need to set aside long periods to write. Write whenever possible; scribble down notes every chance you get.
- While the internet is important for research, you need to limit the amount of time you spend surfing the web. Whenever possible, keep your writing time and your research time separate.
- If you have time to play video games, participate in sports or watch television, then you have time to write. It comes down to prioritizing what is most important to you.
- Your writing will not improve without practice. The more you write the better you get. It is also possible that as your own biggest critic, you are being far too harsh on yourself.
- You need to start somewhere. When there are a multitude of ideas in your head, start with the one that is occupying the most space. You do not need to focus all of your attention on one project at a time. Make notes or draft an outline for some of the less pressing ideas so that you can reference them when you have more time to devote to them.
- You won’t know until you try it. Writing has a way of evolving. What we conceive does not always resemble the finished product. If you make an attempt and you find that the subject matter really doesn’t appeal to you after all, you might find that the simple act of writing helped to spark a new, more appealing idea.
- The two things need not be mutually exclusive. Write for your friends, family members or spouse. Or better yet, write with them. Having the support of those around you can be the biggest incentive to get the work done.
What are some of the excuses you come up with for not writing?