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Excuses, Excuses…

December 11th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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My writing has been sporadic at the moment. This I put down largely to having a few things on my mind – the impending gift-giving ceremony being one; my stuffy cold, another lots of things to do at work; many other things. I find having my attention so divided tiring, so the natural thing for me to do once I get a moment on the train is to slack off and relax.

Ultimately though, these things are just excuses. To be honest, there should be nothing better for me when I’m tired and distracted than to do a bit of writing. For a start, I always feel better. My mood lifts knowing I’ve made a tiny step towards completing my project.

Second, I actually feel energised! This should be the perfect cure for my weariness!

That’s not the only thing that has prevented me from writing so far this week (admittedly, it is only Tuesday as I write this. but I didn’t do much in the way of writing last week, either). That thing was starting something new. That something new was this blog post! I do it most weeks, of course, but I simply did not know what to write this week. Yesterday, I just put it off.

writer's fear

A blank page! Oh, the horror! Won't someone think of the children?

Oh, the cruel irony! Could it be that my blog, designed to get me writing, was preventing me from writing? Not really. In fact, not knowing what to write is just another excuse.

The cure for this? Just write anyway! Case in point, I sat down and started freewriting, actually writing down, “I need a new blog post. What can I write about?” as a starter, and then riffing on my current feelings about writing. This blog post is the result.

Admittedly, this is no masterpiece, but there are a few lessons to take home, even here.

  1. Any reasons you have for not writing at any one time are likely to be excuses. The best way to find out if this is true is to pause, and actually ask yourself (out loud if it helps, and doesn’t get you strange looks), “is this an excuse?” Before you’ve finished the question, you will already know the answer.
  2. As we’re asking ourselves questions, the next one should be, “would writing, right now, actually make me happier and more energised.” If the answer is yes, you’d better get over it and get some writing done!
  3. If you’re thinking, “but I don’t know what to write,” see point number one. More usefully, just try writing anything, even if it’s a short piece of writing about why you’re not writing(!) Write what you did today; pick an object you see out the window and write about that; pluck a word out of thin air and use it to start a sentence. I am always amazed that anything can come out of this kind of exercise, but it often does. What you definitely don’t want to do is get out of your routine, or out of the habit.

So there it is – no excuses, no time-wasting, no habit-breaking. Done.

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