A few days ago, I bookmarked a link I found on Twitter (I forget who was responsible for it, but I’m really grateful) and completely forgot to click it again until today. The link leads you to this Terrible Minds list of lies writers tell themselves.
Needless to say, I’m currently reeling with guilt from the contents of that list. A lot of the stuff written there were excuses I used to let myself off the hook from writing something for myself (either on this blog or in that short story I’m supposed to be writing). For example:
“I Don’t Have Time!”
Yep. That’s one of my favorites, because it’s so easy to believe. Between my job and the stuff I need to do at home, how am I supposed to squeeze this writing thing in?
Well…the answer is apparently “You HAVE to make time to write things for yourself.” It’s a simple answer, but one that I’m not entirely comfortable with just yet.
“It’s Okay That I Didn’t Write Today, I’ll Do It Tomorrow!”
This is related to that first thing. If I thought I didn’t have time to work on something for that day, I often try to tell myself that I’ll have enough time tomorrow.
And it usually ends very, very badly for me.
“Oh Noes, Writer’s Block Again!”
Yyyeeeaaaah, I’m pretty sure I’ve done this ON THIS BLOG. (I think I’ve begun a number of posts with something to the effect of “I don’t know what to write today”).
Note to self: you do know what to write, because you have a DAMNED NOTEBOOK FULL OF POST IDEAS. Granted, not all of them are good ideas, but they can at least be tweaked.
“This Draft Needs to be Perfect!”
Because really, how embarrassing will it be for SOMEONE ELSE to read this thing? There are so many things wrong with what I’ve just written here that I might as well throw it all away and cry in a shadowy little corner where no one has to see me and pity my pathetic writing skills.
While I generally don’t have this problem with the stuff I write for work (because the instructions and expectations are so clear!), this happens again and again whenever I try to write something for myself. Yeah, I know. It doesn’t look like it, does it? But here’s a little secret: I schedule these posts; I write some days and write nada in others in favor of writer‘s angst. Seriously, I agonize over them for hours, and tinker until WordPress says “ENOUGH” and posts them automatically.
“I Suck Moist Open Ass”
This is the crux of my problem. I’m sure a lot of other writers out there have the same opinion of themselves no matter how good they happen to be. I just happen to think I suck more than any one of them, no matter how irrational that thought is. This is why I put off writing and throw away about 90% of my drafts. This is why I didn’t seriously write for myself at all for years. This is why I was willing to give at the first sign of criticism from anyone, no matter how well-meaning.
This is why, despite my supposed credentials (as my sister would occasionally enumerate them), I’m so damned afraid.
The thing is, all these excuses really aren’t healthy if I really want to make something out of the stories and poems and songs in my head. I can’t let fear get the better of me when it comes to this kind of thing. Besides, if a lobsterman who couldn’t read a word until he’s in his 90’s can become an author, then all my arguments against writing anything TODAY (on the blog or otherwise) are pretty much invalid.
With that in mind, I’m putting this right here:
What about you guys? Do you have excuses for NOT writing?