I read yesterday’s post, by Jodi, several times. She and Annie have a knack for writing these excellent lists of things we should or shouldn’t do—and I’ve always envied them for their forethought when it comes to their posts on this blog. But in a first for me, I think there’s something I can add to Jodi’s list—not really something she missed, as much as another way to look at it.
What am I talking about? Excuses.
To make writing a priority in your life you have to get a handle on excuses and reasons. We all have reasons why we can’t write. And we all have excuses. What’s the difference?
A reason is something fundamental, something important, that will inevitably get in the way of your writing. Your day job. Needing to spend time with your kids. Family dinners and holidays. These are reasons. These are things that are either important or necessary. If you don’t these things writing becomes immaterial.
An excuse is hollow. It’s something you pretend is a reason. The house needs cleaning. I’m tired. It’s noisy. No one will leave me alone for 5 minutes. I’m hungry. There are literally hundreds of excuses in our daily life for why we can’t do what we want to do. And as writers we’re probably able to come up with thousands. But excuses aren’t real hurdles. They are obstacles that we put in our own way. If you can’t clean with a dirty house, then clean the house the day before your writing day. If the kids are noisy, then find a spot away from the kids or even away from the house where you can concentrate.
We have very little control over reasons. But with careful planning—and properly setting priorities—we can rein in the effect that excuses have on our writing time.