Are the voices in your head getting in the way of your writing? Are you constantly questioning whether you have the chops you need to be a “real” writer? Do you struggle to find the time to write? Or maybe you have the time, but when faced with a blank screen you develop a really bad case of flop sweat and go running from the room.
Whatever your excuse is for not getting the job done, try to keep in mind that even the most dedicated writers have days when they question their intentions and wonder if they really have what it takes to succeed. Sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement from someone who’s been-there-and-done-that to help you get your fingers moving across the keys once again.
To that end, I’ve compiled a smattering of advice from some successful writers and/or notable figures (and some unknown ones as well), to counteract whatever the excuse is that’s keeping your word count from growing. Find the one that speaks to you and then write it on a sticky note and post it on your laptop. Then sit back and watch as the negative voices recede into the background and the words begin to flow.
Excuse #1: “I really want to write, I swear, but I just can’t find the time.”
·“You don’t find time to write. You make time.” ~ Nora Roberts
·“Don’t be a writer; be writing.” ~William Faulkner
·“You can have your book or you can have your excuses. You can’t have both.” ~Amanda Patterson
Excuse #2: “I have the time, but I don’t know where to start.”
·“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ~Anne Lamott
·“It’s okay to start writing even if you don’t have a clear vision of what you are going to write.” ~Anonymous
·“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~Jack London
Excuse #3: “I didn’t think it would be this hard. Maybe I should just give up.”
·“You fail only if you stop writing.” ~Ray Bradbury
·“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” ~Robert Cormier
·“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~Richard Bach
Excuse #4: “What if I’m not good enough?”
·“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard
·“He is able who thinks he is able.” ~Buddha
·”I will act as though what I do makes a difference.” ~William James
Excuse #5: “I can’t write new pages until I perfect the old ones.”
·“Trying, in a first draft, to make every sentence shine and be perfect before moving on to the next one is a recipe for never finishing.” ~Curtis Sittenfield
·”You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” ~Unknown
·“Keep calm and edit later.” ~Unknown
Don’t recognize yourself in any of the excuses above? Then I’ll leave you with these pithy words of advice that will fit neatly onto your post-it note and serve as inspiration to get back in the game, no matter what your excuse happens to be:
“GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY AND WRITE!”
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