Tuesday, August 11, 2020

5 things that are stopping you from writing - the real reasons

What is keeping you from writing?

We've heard them all, or we think we have.

Lack of time may be on your list. (It was on mine). Not enough focus, not enough experience. 

I believed these excuses for years. I may have even written about them. :) 

Here are the 5 real reasons you're not writing, and another five to get you out of the slump.


Perfectionism. I am a perfectionist, in every sense of the word. I do not just clean the kitchen, I find the nooks and crannies everyone else misses. I expect my writing to be the same. The first draft must be perfection, or I refuse to continue. Every word must be flawlessly placed within the sentence. And the word must be the best word. I must check over every line as I go to make sure there are not no grammar issues. 

The truth is, there will be many mistakes, especially in the first draft. Expect it. Believe it. Just write.

My grandson collects rocks like words. 


Embarrassment. If I share this, someone will laugh. Someone will think I am the dumbest writer they've ever read. I will expose myself. People will see my flaws. 

The truth is that sometimes you will be embarrassed. Sometimes readers will laugh when a laugh is not what you intended. They will not like your writing. They will see you. And that's okay. Really. We are all human, not one of us is perfectly divine right now. All of that comes later, so just get used to being flawed. I have. 


Squirrels. Dogs like squirrels. They might be obediently walking by you until they see a squirrel. Then they are gone. I'm not talking about focus here, or lack of it in the general sense, I am talking about day-in and day-out squirrels every second of the day. I have to clean now. I have to go to work now. I have to pray now. I have to go shopping now. I have to eat now. I have to sleep now. I have to take a walk now. I have to go to church now. I have to go to school now. I have to do my homework now. Are you still reading? Good. I have to take a shower now. I have to make my bed now. I have to...

The truth is, you will never write that book - period. It's just not that interesting to you. You'd rather go skiing, or boating, or skydiving, or bowling, or camping...

...or looking at cars. 
...or dumping out water for your sunflower because you need to water all of the other sunflowers.


Television. You might think that television goes into the category above. Yes, it is a squirrel, but a squirrel of a different breed. You didn't know televisions were squirrels, did you? Well, they are. Television sucks you in. And so does every other electronic gizmo on the planet. So what do you do? You use it, then let it go, and write. If you don't let it go [I am thinking of this very blog even as I write this] the electronic thing will cling to you like a serpent. It will cling to you and suck all of your blood out. And once your blood is out you will not be able to write. Why? Because that d______ thing has taken all of your words! 

The truth is, television can be a good thing - in moderation. As can every other electronic gizmo on the planet. But it clings, I tell you. It clings.


Ignorance. You not only believe you can't write; you do nothing to stop it. Ignorance, no matter what anybody says, is NOT bliss. It is emptiness. It is floating around without anything to latch onto - no, not even your television set! Knowledge is bliss! Learning what you need to practice to get better is bliss! Learning from your mistakes is bliss! Editing is bliss! [I saw you frown]. And yes, even writing that twenty-fifth draft is bliss. Why? Because you DON'T HAVE AN EMPTY BRAIN! You are learning something! And you are writing it down!

The truth is, learning new things creates excitement. It creates better characters! Better dialogue! Better everything!

Isn't that what you really want?

Now, get to it.

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