You sit down at the computer or grab your pen and notebook with the full intention of getting some writing accomplished.
You stare at the blank page or the screen, blink, start to sweat, look around...
all of a sudden something really important comes up. Something that seems productive on the outside, but is really just an excuse on the inside.
"But I AM being productive!" you say. "These things will help me get further along in my novel/poetry chapbook/research paper/whatever." And to a degree, they will. But at some point you have to put aside the productive busywork and actually start writing.
Here are five excuses I've used and I bet you have too.
Back in college I came up with a story idea revolving around the relationship between Hilda Doolittle and Ezra Pound. It would be set in modern times, but the characters would remain, for the most part, the same. To take on such a feat, I had to do some research: read biographies and the authors' works and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I rummaged through second-hand book shops for months and collected everything I could find about Ezra and Hilda. I read and read and read. I'd say I'm an expert when it comes to those two, but guess what? I still haven't written the story.
Research is necessary, no doubt, and when you're doing it you feel pretty dang productive. But the writing doesn't get done. So do your research, then write, then research a little more if you have to, but don't keep researching even after you've researched! Sit your booty down and type out some words. You can always go back and correct if need be.
I love looking up photos of people that look like my characters and pinning pictures of things that inspire me to write, but once I get sucked in, it's unlikely I'm actually getting to the writing part.
Set aside time to do activities like this. Give yourself 30 or 45 minutes to pin away then get to the task at hand.
Can I be honest here? I'm making this excuse right now. I've had a story idea swirling around in my head for a few weeks, but have yet to sit down and do anything about it. I told myself I'd get to it today, but as soon as I sat at the computer and thought about it, my brain went to Oh, it's Monday! Gotta get the blog post written. It's like we'll do any writing other than the one we really want/need to get to.
I blame it on fear. Fear that it won't come out right or I'll get stuck or the whole thing will be the most disastrous thing I've ever written. Plus, I'm not that great at plot, which brings about more fear. Novel-writing is outside of my comfort zone, but a blog post? No sweat! I'll just do that.
How about you? What are you afraid of? Let's climb out of our comfort zones and work on our writing fears together. Who cares if it's the most disastrous thing? We can just chuck it and start over.
This is my worst excuse enemy. I get that feeling rested is mucho important for focus and clarity, but I get plenty of sleep. Probably 7-9 hours. So it's kind of funny when I all of a sudden feel the need to take a nap right before I sit down to write. No kidding, it happens 9 times out of 10.
If you're not getting enough sleep, by all means, take a nap or get a full 8 hours through the night. But if you're like me and feel sleepy more out of habit, push through it. Once your mind realizes you're not giving in, you'll perk right up and (hopefully) get some writing done.
Is it just me or would you rather do house chores than face the blank page?
It's pretty amazing how mopping can seem like a life or death situation and the patch of dust on the desk is all at once illuminated.
I agree with "messy bed, messy head," but the sink of dishes can wait. Tell yourself, "I'll write for an hour, then if I feel like cleaning, I will." Or set aside a cleaning day and write the day after. Surely the house won't be a mess in that amount of time!
So writing peeps, what are your go-to productive excuses? How do you combat them?