Go Ahead — Tell Me All the Reasons You “Can’t” Do This

They’re obstacles, not barriers.

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You’ve already thought of at least one. I know it.

You’ve already come up with a reason why this “thing” you’re trying to do won’t work.

More specifically, you’re ready to scroll down and tell me why YOU can’t do it.

But before you do — before you tell me all the reasons why you can’t launch that blog or write that book or apply for that job — I want you to do something first.

List out all the reasons why you can’t. Every single one. One right after the other.

Is your list a long one? Are your reasons rational to you? Are they legitimate excuses?

They very well may be. But let me ask you this: for every reason why you can’t, are there any reasons why you can?

Is your “can” list bigger than your “can’t”? Do your can reasons make more logical sense than your can’ts? Are your “can” reasons easier to explain than your “can’t” excuses?

Take a second to think about that.

You might find that your can’ts are a lot smaller, and a lot more malleable, than you thought.

“I can’t start a blog because I don’t know what to write about” becomes “I’ll start a blog, write about what interests and inspires me, and go from there.”

“I can’t write a book because I can’t focus on one project for that long” becomes “I’ll try writing a book a chapter at a time, even if it isn’t perfect — even if it takes five years.”

“I can’t get a writing job because I don’t have any formal experience” becomes “I can put together a portfolio of writing samples to start with, and talk to people who have the kinds of jobs I want to see if they have suggestions.”

Every excuse you can come up with has a counterpoint. Every single one. There is a solution, a workaround, to every single roadblock you could possibly encounter along your journey to becoming whatever kind of writer you want to be.

You just have to voice the problem. You have to acknowledge it’s holding you back. But you also have to be honest with yourself and admit you have the power to break free from it. You might think you don’t. But I promise, no matter what it is … you do.

So go ahead. I mean it. Share your excuses. Tell me what you’re struggling with. Some of you have already been doing this over the past week, and it’s extremely helpful — it helps me get a better sense of how to help you. Over two years in, I’m still figuring out who this blog’s audience is, why you come here, why you feel helped or encouraged (or don’t) and what you’re hoping to find when you start exploring the (very disorganized I’M SORRY I’M SORRY) content I’ve created here.

Whatever’s stopping you from reaching your full potential as a writer — it’s not a roadblock. Not really. It’s more like part of an obstacle course. Whether you’re meant to navigate your way around it or crash your way through it, you CAN get to the other side. You CAN create better things. I know you can. And I’m going to stand (sit?) by you until you’re where you want to be. Wherever that is.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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