10 Excuses I Hear Most Often

Thanks to Brenda Wood for sharing Lucy V. Hay’s post.

1. “I wish . . .”
Stop it. Just stop it. You want to write? Do it. You want to try your hand at another type of writing? Do it. You want to change genres? Do it. DO IT! You get the gist. Life is too short. You might die tomorrow. You probably won’t, so why add another 24 hours not doing what you want to with your life?

2. “But . . .”
Show me someone who doesn’t have complications and problems in their lives and I’ll show you the man in the moon. But seriously, that’s the word that comes after but. So, let’s try that again, shall we? But seriously, you’re going to do this—by hook or by crook.

3. “There are only so many hours in a day . . .”
True. But it’s not quantity, it’s quality. Fact is, this will take however long it takes. What’s the rush? You want to make changes, you just have to knuckle down and do it. You have to make adjustments to your life in order to get them done. That’s just the way of it. There is no short cut. There is no magic pill. There is no formula. So, break it down. Go back to what it is you want to do. Say it’s write a YA novel. That’s about 60,000 words. Let’s say you only manage 200 words a day as a conservative estimate. In just 300 days, you will have a first draft manuscript. Say you manage 500 words a day. That means you could have a manuscript in just 120 days. Amazing!

4. “I don’t think I’m good enough . . . ”
I wondered when we’d get to this. Fact is, it’s not up to you to decide whether you’re good enough. Your job is to come up with a great concept, identify your target audience, and basically, write your idea. That’s what writers do. Forget about notions of how “good” you are. Maybe you’re ubertalented; maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Maybe your peers will say you’re amazing or you’ll win awards; maybe you won’t. But all that is irrelevant really. You’re a writer—so write.

5. “I don’t know how or where to start . . .”
So find out. There are more ways to find the information you need than ever before. To start you off, check out the B2W Resources page. It will take you to other great stuff too: www.bang2write.com/resources

6. “Nobody knows about me and/or my project . . .”
Dudes, it’s called social media. It’s free and can connect you to anyone in the world at the push of a button. You can live in the middle of nowhere and still get to the people who matter to you. There’s no right way to “do” social media, by the way, just a plethora of wrong ways. So, don’t be the spammer, the whiner, or the flamer. Instead, write great content that people can’t wait to share. To help you get your message out there, be funny, be helpful, ask questions, write guest posts, be supportive, whatever! Do whatever it takes.

7. “I don’t want to work for free.”
There are lots of great things about working in the creative industries, but money is not one of them. We all hear stories about Writer X who scored a deal worth $$$$, but in reality, most of us are scraping by and paid far less than we’re worth on an everyday basis. That’s just the way it is. Realize it’s up to you to make things happen and make sacrifices, which may well include working for free at times. And guess what; in doing so, you’re forging relationships. And whilst some of those people you may well want to push into the sea, others will become your best friends who will stick by you, thick or thin. So, I guess your time wasn’t really free at all.

8. “I feel like I’m running out of time.”
Lots of writers feel they are not progressing “fast enough” and rush their work. By rushing, they create all kinds of minefields, meaning more rewriting than necessary. They’re unintentionally tripping over themselves in their eagerness to add to their portfolio. Think of that fable of the hare and tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race.

9. “I’m worried people will think I’m stupid.”
People talk of “the industry” or “the media.” Fact is, there’s no such thing. Instead, there are loads of people who know people who know people; it’s all about relationships. The more people you meet and communicate with and try and help get what they want, the more likely you will get what you want. Just don’t expect it to happen straight away; play the long game. Oh, and don’t be weird or a pain in the butt. Good things come to those who wait.

10. “I feel guilty.”
Look, I get it. You can feel like a monster devoting time to your projects and “ignoring” your loved ones, especially if you have kids. But think of it this way instead: If they love you, not only will they understand, you can reciprocate by supporting their dreams—whatever they happen to be. Writing can be a solitary and selfish endeavour. Don’t get so obsessed with the fictional you forget the real world—if for no other reason than you need real life material to write about.

Reprinted with permission from www.bang2write.com (edited by Steph Beth Nickel). Lucy V Hay is a writer, script editor, and blogger who helps writers. Follow her on Twitter as @Bang2write

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