by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
One of the most frustrating things for me when I’m approached by folks who want write is the litany of excuses that come up. I know, they’re not excuses, they’re reasons.
I don’t care what you call them, we all have them. We all have legitimate reasons not to do something. We’re all insanely busy—maybe not all in the same way—but trust me, we are equally bound up with to-do lists.
In case you think I’m being callous and unfeeling, let me assure you I’ve let these things keep me from writing. And one thing I’ve discovered is this—they’re not even reasons—they’re choices.
Each of us has the same amount of time each day. Within each day we set our priorities. We decide where to spend our time. Sure there is some time that’s non-negotiable for everyone—eating, sleeping, for some working, for others being a parent.
But we all have, what I like to call, disposable time. See if any of these strike a nerve:
- It’s that time when we choose to sleep in an extra 30 minutes instead of get up and write.
- It’s that time when we choose to stay up late instead of getting the sleep we need so we can get up 30 minutes early and write.
- It’s that time when we decide that closet needs cleaning out before we can get started.
- It’s that time when we choose lunch with a friend over writing.
- It’s that time when we watch TV instead of writing.
- It’s that time when we waste 30 minutes texting with a friend, rather than writing.
- It’s even the time when we decide we just don’t feel like writing.
The list goes on and on and on and on… We writers are a creative bunch, especially when it comes to manufacturing reasons not to write.
Following your dream takes sacrifice. It means treating your dream like it matters. Because it does! After all, how can you expect your family and friends to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.
Here’s an exercise to help you weed out those excuses that plague us all:
1. Make a list of all the things you HAVE to do. (Make sure they are truly have-tos, not should or want-tos. Those need to be weeded out. For example, I originally had vacuum the house weekly on my list. But I’ve learned that’s a should, not a have-to. Vacuuming every two weeks or delegating it to a family member works just as well.
2. Now make a list of things you’re willing to give up.
3. Now set a goal. I recommend you make it a weekly goal, instead of a daily one. That way when life happens (someone gets sick, the car dies, etc.) you have a little bit of grace time built in. The goal can be anything you want; a word count, a time goal, even a project goal. But write it down and put it someplace prominent. Make sure your family can see it as well as you.
4. Finally, share your goals with another writer. If you want, share it here.
Here’s the opportunity to pony up. If you're willing to make the time to write, leave a comment below, along with your goal, if you'd like. Then we'll hold each other accountable!
Don't forget to join the conversation!
Are excuses standing between you & your writing dreams? @EdieMelson offers steps to help move forward (Click to Tweet)