A popular post from March 2008
by Julie WrightEven in heaven the work is the same. There is no magical formula that makes a writer exempt from parking their backside in a chair and doing the work. There are a million and one excuses for not writing and they are all LAME.
A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell. Being a good writer, she decided to do her research first and check out each place first.
As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.
"Oh my, this is awful," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an angel. "Here, your work gets published."
The two biggest excuses for not writing are Time and Fear.
You've all heard me say it and I will say it again because I mean it: Time is Made not Found. Sometimes Time can be stolen, knocked out, and dragged off to do your bidding for a few minutes, but it is never found.
- Cut out a half hour of TV (get TIVO if you have to . . . in the spirit of stealing time back).
- Prepare several meals at the beginning of the week so you aren't doing last minute meal scrambling.
- Teach your children to do for themselves (trust me; it won't kill them)
- on your break at work, go out to your car and write instead of hanging out in the break room chatting with coworkers.
- delegate tasks
Fear is the mind killer. So says Frank Herbert in the book Dune (great read) I believe him. Fear strangles your mind and all the fabulous ability you have to create and become.
Some people might call this writers block. I honestly think writer’s block stems from fear. Deep down, we writers are an odd lot. We’re egotistical enough to believe we can write something and have someone actually PAY to read what we wrote and yet, there are few people as filled with self doubt as writers.
“I’m afraid nothing will come of what I write and therefore it will not be WORTH my time.”
“What I fail?”
“What if what I write is so dumb, publishers, critics, and my own mother laugh at me?”
“What if what I write isn’t worth my time?”
Why wouldn't it be? Everything you write will have some merit, even if it's nothing more than practice. Do you think dancers twirl on their toes without a little practice? Besides if you have lots of practice fodder, it becomes good for salvage material to use in later works. I steal from my own work all the time.
I tell my kids all the time, "Courage is being afraid, but doing it anyway." This has enabled them to get on rides at Disneyland, go rock rappelling, and learn to snorkel in the ocean. I'm telling it to all of you in the hopes that it will enable you to take the chance on yourself and finish that manuscript so you can submit it to agents and editors and the people who can turn your dreams into reality.
Time and fear . . . not anymore
Excuses are like armpits. Everyone has two and they all stink. You are in charge of your life. Make your time and conquer your fear and do what you were meant to do.