Five lame excuses not to write

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How do you know you’re a writer? Simple. Writers write. They don’t spit out Chapter One on an ambitious weekend and then tell everyone they are writing a book even though they never pick it up again. Writing is all about BIC: butt in chair. Without regular, healthy doses of BIC, you’re not a writer.

Let’s discuss the unacceptable excuses not to write.

I don’t have time.

There are evenings, weekends, and lunch breaks. There’s riding the subway to work. Spend Sundays with family and friends, but make sure your loved ones know Saturdays are off-limits; writing days. Make sacrifices. If you don’t, you’re not a writer.

I don’t have a good writing environment.

You need silence. You need noise. You need a laptop. You need several hours to really get into it. Fill in the blank for whatever you “need” in order to write, but it’s all baloney sandwiches. All you need is pen and paper. Actually, if you were locked in a South American prison without pen and paper, you could probably still find something with which to prick your finger, and you’d have lots of blank wall space to fill up with blood letters. Bottom line, if you’re not writing before you buy an iPad, you’re not going to write after you buy one, either.

I’m not in the right mood.

I’ve got news for you: real writers are almost never in the mood to write. When sitting down to write, I’m accosted with a sudden desire to read a blog post, click on a YouTube video, or watch paint dry, but I must strive past this. It’s like the first swim of the summer. You don’t want to get in the pool – you know it’s going to be too cold; you’d rather just lie out in the sun. But once you swallow your inhibitions and lower yourself in completely, it feels amazing.

I have writer’s block.

Be honest – you sat in front of the computer for fifteen minutes, nothing came out, and now you think you have license to watch the Iron Chef marathon. If you really tried for a couple of hours and still can’t get anything out, try writing something else for a while. Write a scene from later on in the book, work on plot, or consider alternate first sentences. Just get something on paper. More on writer’s block in a later post.

I’m too tired.

Next to not having time, this is my biggest bane. I write 40-50 hours a week at my paying job, maintain this blog in the evenings, and read whenever I can. You probably have a similar schedule – or worse. It takes a lot of energy. But writing or not writing is a matter of choosing between the lesser of two evils, because no matter how tired I am, if I don’t write, I will snap at people all weekend and shrivel up like a raisin until the following Saturday.

About Stephanie Orges

Stephanie is an award-winning copywriter, aspiring novelist, and barely passable ukulele player. Here, she offers writing prompts, tips, and moderate-to-deep philosophical discussions. You can also find her on and Pinterest.
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7 Comments

  1. Agree with every word. I’m lucky in that I’ve got more time than most, all my life includes is school right now, but it’s so easy to blow it off and say ‘oh I’ll write later’. Thankfully I don’t struggle with it too much since I am pretty much always itching to write something.

    • Yes! Take advantage of the time you have now as much as possible! Some of my best memories were right after I graduated high school for about a month before I got a job, in which all I did every day was eat, sleep, and write (and spend afternoons with friends). To get up in the morning and hit the computer in pajamas with a cup of tea, just dive right in…heaven. Now I do that for my vacations.

  2. “..snap at people all weekend..”

    Oh yes. Especially after my husband says, “You look preoccupied” more than once.

    Thankfully only two of these apply to me: no time and too tired. But my compulsion to write wins every time.

    I can always take my laptop in the bathroom with me, lock the door, turn on the shower, and pretend I’m showering. My family will never know. So what about that pile of laundry? I have to shower!

    And I don’t give up at night until I’ve nodded off long enough to leave several lines of dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

  3. You’re right. It’s easy to say ‘I can’t because …’ but if you really want to write, you find a way.

  4. *rubs face* I know… I know. I am getting better at writing. It takes discipline… the dreaded D-word.

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