How to Stop Making Excuses for Not Writing

You can tackle your excuses to the ground and tell them to back off, but on the outside, they don’t always tell the whole story.

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You haven’t written anything for awhile. Not anything good, at least. That’s not a good feeling. You WANT to write. But every time you think about it, something stops you.

Rather, YOU stop you. You use an excuse to stay away from your latest writing project, for whatever reason. It might be justifiable, and it might be ever so slightly exaggerated. No matter: you aren’t writing, and you want to be. So here’s how to stop making excuses, so you can get back to writing.

Audit your excuses

We make excuses every day. Every single one of us. We make them so often that we start to become desensitized to them. “I’m tired” becomes our response to almost everything, so much so that we might not even really be all that tired when the words tumble out of our mouths. Start paying attention to the excuses you make when you put off or completely neglect your writing time. Write them down if you have to. After a few days, or a week, however long you think you can stick with it, lay all those excuses out in front of you. Really look at them.

Figure out the most prominent reasons why you aren’t writing. Are you feeling low on energy? Too overwhelmed because of time crunches? Have you (seemingly) lost interest in what you’re writing? Once you’ve pinpointed those, the next step is to create counter-arguments for yourself.

Come up with antidotes

Every excuse you make should come with an opposing thought or action. You’re tired. So, so tired. All you want to do is watch Netflix when you get home. Yet your writing project is sitting there, silently begging you to pay attention to it, even for 15 short minutes. How do you transform “I’m tired” into “I’m tired, but I’m going to keep writing?”

It’s simple, really: you just have to start. Because starting is the hardest part, especially when you’re tired. Here’s what you can do: before you leave in the morning, open whatever program houses your work. Open that document and just let it sit there, waiting. When you get home, and log back onto your computer, boom. There it is. Already open and ready for you to go. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll actually write anything, but it’s there. It’s one less barrier you have to climb over. Just type out a few words. A few sentences. A few paragraphs. You might get sucked in, and realize … you’re not really as tired as you thought. :)

Acknowledge the underlying issues

You can tackle your excuses to the ground and tell them to back off and stay away, but on the outside, they don’t always tell the whole story. Issuing a restraining order against your excuses doesn’t erase the fact that something is keeping you from getting your work done. On the outside, you might be tired. You might feel like you don’t have enough time. You might feel bored. But is that all?

It doesn’t have to be something serious. Maybe you just need to take some guilt-free time off, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Maybe you need to put up some site blocks on your browser for awhile, to keep you focused. Maybe you need to put your current project aside for a little while so you can put some energy into a different project. It’s not abandonment: it’s making different use of the energy you didn’t think you had. If it means enough to you, you’ll find your way back to it later.

So what’s your excuse? What’s keeping you staring at a blank page? And what are you going to do about it today?

Image courtesy of The Odyssey Online.

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