So far this month, I’ve spent a lot of time working on getting my writing groove back. I went about four months avoiding writing anything new, and toiling over finished projects but never ever really getting anything done. Work was crazy, personal life stuff was crazy, more work stuff was crazy, I was busy. Day after day, there was some reason why I couldn’t sit down and write. Maybe tomorrow. But in the end, these were all just excuses. I needed to take ownership of my own writing, my own career, and I needed to get stuff done!
So now that I’m finally back into writing on a regular basis, I’m starting to look at all of the excuses I was telling myself about why I wasn’t writing and breaking them down as best as I can, in hopes of stopping my next writing slump before it even starts.
I don’t have time to write
Sometimes, despite all of our best intentions, we can struggle to find time to sit down and get some writing done. Things get busy, we get distracted. It happens. But we need to be honest with ourselves about when we actually don’t have time—when you can’t even spare 5 minutes to get 200 words down on the page so that you’re at least making progress, or emailing yourselves a few lines at a time while you’re waiting in line for your coffee—and when we’re just finding excuses not to write.
There may be days where you legitimately can’t find the time to write. Life gets in the way when we least expect it or want it to. The key is noticing when this becomes a pattern, so that you can evaluate that moment where your not writing becomes more about the habit of not writing then it does about not having enough time. So long as you are genuinely making an effort to find the time to write as often as you can, you’ll find the time.
Okay, I don’t have time to read AND write
The importance of reading for writers can’t be stated enough as the most crucial ingredient for improving your craft as a writer. But it can sometimes be hard to justify spending the time to sit down with a book, because, well… reading is fun. And when you’re enjoying yourself, reading can feel like the farthest thing from working and being productive. Wrong. No matter what you’re reading, you are expanding your writing tool kit and making yourself better at your craft.
So you don’t have time to read? Yes, you do. I promise you do. Just like you can find the time to write in the in between moments of your day, you can also find time to read. Try audiobooks during your commute, or just having a mass market paperback waiting in your purse, in your car, or on your desk for when you have a few minutes to read a few pages. It will add up faster than you think, and benefit you so much in the long run.
No really, I don’t have time for any of this
Maybe it’s a little harsh, but the way I like to look at this is that we all have the same amount of hours in a day. Mothers of nine, CEOs, the world’s most prolific authors… everyone has 24 hours to make the most of, and we do the best we can. Squeeze every possible drop of productivity as you can out of those hours! Of course there are going to be some periods in your life where everything goes nuts and there is barely even time to sleep, but if this is spreading over months and months, it’s time to look at your priorities and decide what you’re willing to give up (or not) in order to get this book of yours written. For now, do what you can. Sleep fifteen minutes less every night and see what you can do with that block of time, it will add up faster than you’d think. And any word written is better than nothing.