You’ve always wanted to write a book. You know you have at least one book bouncing around in your brain. So what’s stopping you?
I’ve been there. I’ve had the desire to write a book my entire life. I had many fits and starts, but always found an excuse not to do it. Finally, at the tender young age of 50, I published my first novel. I’m now 53 and I’ve published five novels, a collection of short stories and a non-fiction book on independent publishing.
I’m not bragging about this. I kick myself every day for not starting 20 or 30 years sooner. The only thing that allowed me to finish my first book is that I stopped making excuses.
This post is a look at the top excuses that keep many of us from unleashing that inner author on the world. Take a look at them and feel free to comment on them or add your own excuses in the comments.
Excuse 1: I want to write a book, I just don’t have any story ideas
There are so many potential sources for ideas in the world. My first short story came from expansion of a newspaper article that I read about a motorcycle accident. My first novel came from binge watching an old detective show. Your ideas can come from your life experiences or from something you’ve observed.
It can be argued that there is a finite number of story ideas on the world that are differentiated by characters and setting. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I keep a notebook with me to jot down future story ideas as they pop in my head. The harsh truth here is, if you don’t have any writing ideas, you’re not trying hard enough.
Excuse 2: I have plenty of ideas, I just don’t have the time to write
Here is an excuse that gets zero sympathy from me. I have a 45-50 hour per week job that has me traveling 45 weeks per year. I find time to write. Whether it’s staying up an hour later or getting up an hour earlier, I make time every day to write. I have also learned to write in less than ideal conditions. Crowded airports, cramped airplane seats, and generic hotel rooms are my inspirational spaces. I’ve learned to tune out the world and write when I have the time. My output has been pretty good considering the circumstance.
If you think you don’t have time, take a good look at yourself. Factor in your Internet/Facebook surfing time, you ‘Netflix and Chill’ time, and all of the other time wasters that are keeping you from writing your book.
I’ve actually found that when I’m home and have time off from work, I’m less productive in my writing because my time is not as structured. I produce more pages when my time is limited and I’m forced to write at specific times.
Excuse 3: I am terrible at spelling/grammar
This is why editors have an important place in our lives. I would be curious to see the quality of writing from well-known authors before they go through the editing process. There is a reason that editors exist.
Even if you think you’re highly competent grammarian and speller, I am certain that you will miss things in your own writing if you try to self-edit. The brain is especially good at skipping over mistakes in things that are familiar to it. You will miss your own mistakes and the quality of your work will suffer because of it.
What were your excuses? How did you overcome them? What excuses still exist that you haven’t overcome? We’re all here to help.