5 Good (Or Not So Good) Excuses for Not Writing

Do you eat, drink, sleep, breath and in general just live writing?

I’m asking this because of the man who sat next to me on a flight back home from some much needed holidays. He walked in with a guitar case, and after storing it he sat down and took out a stack of music sheets the size of a phone book; for the rest of the flight he went though them very meticulously. His dedication was very impressive since it was only a one and a half hour trip. I could not help but be a little bit jealous.

Mental list
I also couldn’t help but compare it with what I was doing, which was listening to the audiobook An Invisible Gorilla by Chabris & Simons, on the psychology of perception. I thought that if I were as dedicated to my art as this musician, I should be writing. Then I started thinking of excuses why I wasn’t writing at that particular moment. I made this mental list:

  1. I’m on holiday, this is a good excuse … well kind of.
  2. I’m thinking about what I’m going to write.
  3. I’m doing research (i.e. everything I experience is research).
  4. I’m a bit nervous about flying and the only thing I can think of is: I hope I’m not in the 3 percent that does crash.
  5. ‘Nope, sorry’, my brain says, ‘No inspiration at the moment’.

Kudos
In the end, I thought of all those authors who write, and never need or have to come up with an excuse because they’re writing instead of thinking about writing. If you’re such a writer, kudos to you, you are the awesomest person ever! If you are not, well kudos to you too, because everyone is different and has a different process, interest, motivation or focus.

I think sometimes, you, and I mean all of you artists out there who have ever compared yourselves artistically or otherwise to anyone else (and yes, most people do, I know because The Invisible Gorilla is not the first psychology book I read/listen to) should just give yourself a pat on the shoulder once in a while. It’s not what you do or how you do it, it’s just hoping you get there and have fun while doing it. And if that includes making up an excuse or five, so be it.

Happy writing and many excuses to you all.

Sofia

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14 thoughts on “5 Good (Or Not So Good) Excuses for Not Writing

  1. I think there are ways to live/breathe writing all the time without always actually writing. Revision is one, research is another if it is actually deliberately for the story or project you’re working on. I’m working on a project now which requires just as much programming as writing which takes nice advantage of different brain states. And reading always attunes you to new things so at least you weren’t flipping through a people magazine or something 🙂

  2. I would say that what the musician was doing was the equivalent of editing or rereading a piece of work, the kind of thing that is possible on a short flight, the tasks that feed into the creative process and that is exactly what you were doing Sofia. 🙂

  3. …or maybe that was the Alone Time the guy got all to himself and he was cherishing it to its fullest!

    ANNNNNND, if you’re having to make excuses to NOT write…maybe that tells you you’re QUITE the writer, since you must be writing all the time (I’m assuming the more positive possibility)? ;-]

    Great post, Sofia!

  4. If it isn’t a pleasure then I don’t do it. I love writing when I am in the mood for it. I don’t make my living out of it and I am in no hurry to finish something. I love reading but I don’t do that every spare minute either. Same with cooking, gardening and listening to music. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Do it when you want to.

    1. Those are words to live by, but it gets hard sometimes not to sneak a peak at what others are doing, thanks for the encouragement Kerry 🙂

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