Top Excuses for Not Writing Your Book and How to Get Over Them

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 56 and I’ve published ten books.

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.

Good idea

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.

18 thoughts on “Top Excuses for Not Writing Your Book and How to Get Over Them

  1. I sometimes feel overwhelmed, or tell myself that the publishing process is a headache instead of just writing. Oh and kids are a great excuse, but they’ll actually do everything in their power so that you cannot write…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think another is self-defeat. Telling yourself you’re not good enough (hello…even those with natural talent still have to develop their craft), or letting other people (family or certain individuals you respect) knock you down. They’ll say that being a writer will never take you anywhere (blah, blah, blah…nonsense like ‘this is just a hobby’ or ‘just a phase you’re going through). It’s true that making it as author is an even greater challenge in our age of indie publishing. But giving up because it’s too challenging isn’t the answer either.

    Do it simply because in your heart of hearts, you can’t imagine yourself working toward any other professional goal. Writing is in your blood. It’s not about fame; it’s the pleasure you get from being in the zone, when your pen is flying across the page (or fingers on the keyboard). The key is to find a good support system somewhere, even it’s within a local writer’s group or online. Having a few people to bounce ideas off of, or to be in your corner on bad days, can do wonders…

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  4. Oh my goodness, this is wonderful to read. Thank you. Frankly I’m impressed … that’s a lot of books. I’m probably about 3/5ths of the way through mine now and am finding that I CAN do it. I CAN write on the train, on the bus, in my coffee shop when I know that after two hours they’ll start getting irritated. Fabulous post … thank you. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

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