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Excuses, Excuses

no excuseDo you have something you’ve been waiting to write? (or simply do, for that matter) – but, you just haven’t done it yet? We’re talking about personal writing here, not client copywriting. (Because if you’re not doing your client work then you’re just a big procrastinator!)

I’m curious to hear your excuses. Why haven’t you done it? What’s holding you where you are? And while I wait for your responses, I’ll fill you in on my own neuroses…

What is it that holds me back?

1. Time. This is probably the easiest excuse – because you get to pretend you’re selfless. I don’t have time now because I have to do my paying work to support myself or my family. I don’t have time now because my children are young. I don’t have time now because I’m on the board of this or I have to clean the house or I have a sick parent to care for…

2. Self-loathing. (don’t look at me like that) Who am I to deserve the chance to write or to be happy or to be great?

3. I can’tfor whatever reason. When I tell myself that, it’s all over. Only I can really shut that gate…and keep it closed.

4. This isn’t just about me. What will people think if I’m actually a success? How will I fit into my life? Won’t I make other people feel bad about themselves if I ‘win’??? (Okay that last one is hilarious to see in print…)

5. What if I can’t stop? Yes, I’ve actually struggled with this. What if I start writing and I can’t stop. What if I finally open the floodgates and I drown in this flow of words? How will I live my life if my fingers are actually bound to my keyboard?

6. What if I do stop? What if I start and it’s going really well – but then I have to sleep or eat or go to the bathroom and I can’t get it back again. Is there one time in my life when it will be safe to start because I won’t be interrupted…by life? Will I be able to get it all down?

7. What if someone reads it? And then they see into my brain and my heart. They’ll see everything – oh, the raw exposure.

8. Fear of the bad. Why should I start when the end result will probably suck? This excuse masquerades as self-preservation. I don’t want to write because if it’s bad, it will be mortifying and I’ll have wasted so much precious time – when I probably should have been doing something else more worthy and productive.

9. Fear of the good. What if it’s really good? What if I’m actually successful? What if this fulfills me? What if I’m actually happy?

Okay, I spilled it – all of my ridiculous and crap-filled roadblocks – it’s your turn now. And if you’re worried about sharing too much, go read this and then come back…I’ll wait.

The following quote was a focal point of the 500 hours of yoga teacher training that I did in the early 2000’s – it seems apropos here. Come to think of it, it seems like it should be tattooed on my brain. Enjoy…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

Image credit: whizchickenonabun

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Amy says:

    I have felt all of these before. My biggest roadblock when writing my book was that I would have spent all that time writing and then it would be horrible. And while it’s not fantastic, it’s not terrible. If nothing else, it teaches you how to do it better the next time around.

    I love the quote at the end.

  • Emma Newman says:

    Do we get a prize if we can say yes to every single one?

    I nodded like an idiot to all of these, but most especially the fear of it being good. I have one to add “But what if people read it and see bits of me in it that I didn’t intend to reveal?” That one goes deep.

    Thanks for that quote. I’ll be behind you in the brain tattoing parlour.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Emma! How could I forget that one! I believe I wrote a whole post on being afraid to reveal and letting it stymie the writing process…Thank you for adding it here…I might have to pop it in up there…

    What color tats should we get?

  • Emma Newman says:

    I think that lurid day-glo pink from the 80’s ankle sock era should be just enough to get through the skull. And I’m having mine done in mirror writing so that I remember it every time I brush my teeth (only time I look in the mirro these days).

    Of course, I could just print it out and stick it on the mirror, but does that say commitment in the same way? I think not… ;o)

  • Julie Roads says:

    I think not also – has to be a tattoo – thinking about the back of my hand – something I look at much more often than my brain.

  • Dave Perks says:

    Holy crap. Where do I start? I’d love to write a response here, but I think I need a cup of coffee. Probably have to go check and see what all my friends with interesting lives are talking about on facebook, too. Man, I’m hungry, I could use a snack.

    I’m sorry…

    What were we talking about?

  • Great post. We’re at a similar point in our lives now. Love the Marianne Williamson quote. I’m not a big Bible quoter (quoteress?) but this comes to mind:

    “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” ~ Matthew 5:15

    One of your excuses is one of my dreams. To start and not be able to stop writing. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be the source of an everlasting spring?

  • Julie Roads says:

    Heather, the quoteress, I can totally imagine it – hence my terror and my glee living side by side in my brain! I’m shocked that you found a bible quote and not a Twilight quote…what’s wrong with you! What about “writing is my own personal brand of heroine – it both thrills and terrorizes me.”

  • LOL! Okay now that is funny.

    And so the lion fell in love with her laminated Authors Guild card…

  • Andi says:

    I have a novel in my that I would love to write, started 3 chapters last Fall and that is it. Why? Well, I started a business on top of my full time corporate career, I blog personally which is a great escape, I read a ton of books and then there is Twitter and Facebook, so I feel I don’t have the time to really give the writing justice. Also, I went to some talks and events that said if you are writing fiction it is a one in a million shot of getting published. But then I think to myself, is that why I want to write it? To get it published, or do I just want to get it down on “paper”? Got a couch, this could turn into a session…

  • Andi, you have three chapters and that’s three more than most of the rest of us.

    Of course you want to get published. Who doesn’t? If you didn’t want to share your thoughts with a mass audience you wouldn’t be a blogger. It’s cathartic for a lot of us.

    Keep in mind that you can self-publish and promote on the net. From what I understand, lots of people are doing that. Not sure how successful they are mind you, but it can be done.

  • Andi says:

    Hi Heather, I still don’t feel like I have the time to put towards it, but I think I will take Julie’s advice from a few posts ago, and do “sections” not chapters, that may help me chunk it up more. Also P.S., I swear I giggled out loud with your “And so the lion fell in love…”

  • Aaargh! I’m doing it RIGHT NOW! Doing this instead of doing that… (Social media is sooooo seductive…)

    Yes, all of that resonated uncomfortably.

    Now I will go and get on with it… after I’ve made another cup of tea, checked this, checked that, and…

  • Great post – isn’t it amazing how we avoid our personal writing, especially when we know it’s the best thing for us? Kind of like going to the gym… Thanks for sharing, and for reminding me of that fabulous quote.

  • Ami says:

    As just about everyone else has said, all of the excuses you’ve listed could have come straight from my own neuroses file. I guess we writers are a lot alike.

    I keep that quote on my monitor at work, and now that I have a bulletin board in my office at home it will hang there, too. Unfortunately, reading it and truly BELIEVING it are two entirely different things.

  • My favorite excuse is “I don’t feel like it right now. I’ll do it later.” I know that my writing is always there waiting for me and I can work on it at my leisure.

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