Legitimate Reasons Not to Write

June 9, 2015 books, discussion, fun, miscellaneous 28

No Time

You would be writing if you could. Really. It’s just… there’s no time. In between work, education, your family, and your social obligations there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But don’t worry. If you had the time, you’d already have written at least three bestsellers. You’re going to have time someday. And the world better prepare for when you’re a millionaire.

No Muse

You specifically took this time to write. You cleared your schedule, cleaned your home and organized your stationery. There are even some motivational quotes pinned to the side of your desktop. Unfortunately for your future writing career, you’re just not feeling it today. The blinking cursor on a backdrop of white, blank page might as well be your best friend with how much time you’ve been spending together. Ah well, maybe some other day. There’s no need to torture yourself with putting down words you know aren’t going to be up to your standard anyway. You’ll just make up for it when your muse returns.

Bad Environment

Your fingers would already be flying across the keyboard; it’s just… your writing space sucks. Your office is too dark, the coffee shop is too loud and the library is too quiet. Besides, the laptop is cramping your style anyway. You could see yourself with a notepad, somewhere on the windswept cliffs of Cornwall, writing poetry. Or maybe on a summer meadow, leaning against the trunk of a tree as you come up with the outline for your next seven books. This just won’t do.

Shiny New Ideas

You’re well into your new book. You’ve already written five chapters and the genius twist you’re planning to implement in chapter 14 fills you with a sense of evil joy pride. But… there’s this other idea you had, and it was even better than this one. You should really write it down before you forget everything. In fact, was the old one even that good? Maybe you should try to write a couple of chapters of the new book first, see how it feels… Of course you’ll return and finish this one though, no question about it. If you had run with another idea every time something shinier came along, you’d never have completed an enti- oh, right.

NaNoWriMo Limits Your Creativity

You decided to finally participate in NaNoWriMo, because you’re sure it will give you that extra surge of motivation you need to finish your book. Less than 2000 words a day – piece of cake, right? Definitely doable – after all, you’ve written more than that on several occasions. It should take you what, an hour a day? Please, you can write for an hour in your sleep. The first week goes well. You miss a couple of days during the second week, but there’s still plenty of time to make up for it, right? By the middle of the third week you’re 15 000 words behind and finishing your book in the next one and a half weeks doesn’t seem very likely. You’re not sure where you went wrong. You’ve been thinking about writing so much, surely there should be something to show for it?? It’s okay, you’ll just put in some extra time during the weekend. You spend the entire weekend catching up on Game of Thrones, because otherwise people would spoil all the new episodes. You give up by the beginning of week 4, because this was a stupid idea to begin with. Writing is a creative endeavor. Creativity can’t be contained to a schedule.

You Have to Do More Research

See, the thing is you don’t want to just write a book. You want to write a good book. What if you mention those windswept Cornwall cliffs you’ve been imagining as your perfect writing space and then find out that you’ve been wrong all your life and there’s no wind in Cornwall? What if you set your murder mystery in Brussels and refer to it as the capital of Germany before you realize it’s actually in Belgium? You don’t want go making a fool of yourself, so you should do some more research. Yes, you’ve already spent weeks researching that one scene, but… there is no such thing as thorough enough. Definitely spend some more time Googling, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re procrastinating. They’ll all be jealous of the believable atmosphere in your book once it’s published. Which it will be. Soon.

I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of absolutely everything on this list. Hell, I didn’t even start NaNoWriMo to begin with. What are YOUR best writing excuses?

28 Responses to “Legitimate Reasons Not to Write”

  1. verena

    haha, this was amazing! My excuse is always that I have no goal when I am writing…
    But you talked about NaNoWriMo! when did it start and where can I get more information?
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  2. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    BWHAAH I LOVE THIS. Okay, my biggest sin is #1. I flat out do NOT have time. Honestly, I don’t. I pretend I do every so often but.. I don’t. I do hope that once the kids are a little older and can make themselves a sandwich or something I can have a few minutes here or there. The struggle is real.

    Also, if it helps, I started NaNo, wrote 800 words, 400 of which I erased. So… it’s probably better that you didn’t even start ;) Also a good excuse? My butt hurts from my cheap office chair. Solid.
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    • Vlora


      I imagine it’s hard to even think about writing with kids around! Haha well, at least you have 400 words more than you did before? :D Also, you blog every day, so that’s A LOT of work & words. Don’t even get me started on office chairs. I have THE BEST office chair. I always get backaches when I sit for too long, and I need one that leans back, so I can stare at the ceiling contemplatively. :D I think my chair cost as much as the desk, but it was SO worth it.
      Vlora recently posted…Legitimate Reasons Not to WriteMy Profile

  3. Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    I love writing, actually. And while I agree that these are truly legit reasons why we shouldn’t write, I think it’s still worth it to write even if it means researching more and wasting a lot of time. At least getting the writing done in the end is what makes up your reward. :) But you do make a good point in your post!
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  4. Alyssa

    OMG, I came in here expecting serious situations when you should take a break, like before revisions and such, and apparently no. But these are like SUCH AMAZING REASONS. And c’mon, clearly you need to travel around the world in business-class seats before you can even put paper to pen. I’m planning to try out Camp NaNo next month, hopefully I don’t use this excuse :P
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    • Vlora


      I feel like that sums up my blog hahaha: came here expecting something serious …got this vaguely ridiculous thing instead. Before revisions is definitely an actually legitimate reason to take a break from writing – I can never really judge something I’m working on at the moment. It helps that my memory is so bad – I can be surprised by things I’ve written months or even weeks ago. :D And OBVIOUSLY business-class travelling is a requisite for any self-respecting author. I AM actually struggling with describing places I’ve never been to at the moment though. I should probably do some more Googling. :D Good luck with Camp NaNo!
      Vlora recently posted…Legitimate Reasons Not to WriteMy Profile

  5. Olivia

    Oh man I am guilty of two of theses the most! And that has to be shiny new ideas (which I start anyway, and multi-write, which results in the next one) not having enough time! I am crazy busy with other things like blogging, reading, school, basketball and EVERYTHING. I tend to struggle to find the time, unless I want no sleep DD:
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    • Vlora


      I am SO bad with shiny new ideas. I can never just stick to one story; it’s very frustrating. I’m not terribly good at writing multiple things at the same time, but I do do it sometimes. Sometimes it helps to write something short on the side while working on something long that feels like it’ll never be finished. And I definitely understand the time thing too!
      Vlora recently posted…Legitimate Reasons Not to WriteMy Profile

  6. Caitlin

    All of these are so true! I’d have to say my worst habit is waiting until I’ve got the perfect idea to start, when in reality there’s probably never going to be an idea I think is perfect enough. Sometimes it’s just so hard to force yourself to write when your ideas all seem rubbish, but that’s what revising for!
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    • Vlora


      I know that feeling! I think sometimes you just have to force yourself to start, even if you don’t feel like it at all. And you’re so right about revising – I used to think everything has to be perfect right from the start, because I suck at editing, but it’s so much easier to just write it and then polish it later!
      Vlora recently posted…Legitimate Reasons Not to WriteMy Profile

  7. Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

    Hahaha, I relate to these so much. I actually have a similar post idea stuck in the back of my phone somewhere. I think the hardest thing for me is the combination of wanting to write but struggling with depression. I love writing, but with the depression I just can’t bring myself to sit in front of my laptop and write. It just feels all eehfuhuzhifrg.
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  8. Cait @ Paper Fury

    My best writing excuse is probably “THE MOON IS NOT ALIGNED IN THE SKY AT THE PERFECT ANGLE THEREFORE I CANNOT WRITE.” It’s a very good excuse. i’ve used it for like 5 months of this year. Although currently I’m blaming a cold on the reason I didn’t type a word today. GAH. I was on such a good run too. >.> But mostly the moon is all wrong, dangit.
    Also these are so totally perfect. I think I shall use all of them.
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  9. Romi

    Ahhaha, nice (in italics, I add) Vlora! I didn’t know you wrote, so this is a very exciting moment for me (even though I read this a few hours ago!)- more fellow writers who are part of the blogging community for the winniest of wins, I say.
    I’ve actually been so good with making sure I write at least a certain amount every day (helped by NaNo) when I’m working on a project. Right now I’ve made the decision to do editing every day instead of fresh writing, and I’m happy with that. The only time I actually won’t write, when I’m saying I have to do it each day or whatnot, is when I’m ill. Headaches and intense colds make me get migrains and the like when I write, and I don’t feel like it leaves me with a pleasant experience or is really worth it.
    Have you experienced the late night writing before? The next day can often be hilarious.

    Wonderful post! This really made me smile. xx
    Romi recently posted…Mini Reviews (10)My Profile

    • Vlora


      I read your comment at work yesterday and it totally made me smile, thanks. :) Well, the writing is kind of an irregular activity in my case, so I usually stay away from calling myself a writer because it just feels like I’m cheating haha. I do always get back to it eventually though. I think feeling sick is definitely an actually legitimate reason not to write. I’m so glad the writing/editing every day thing is working out for you! I do try, but university keeps getting in the way. Whenever I have to write a term paper, I just don’t have the energy to write consistently (and I always have to write one term paper or another), BUT I do do most of my writing when I should be doing something else instead, so maybe it’s helping, IDEK. :D I actually write at night pretty often, yes! I’m usually up late and no one disturbs me at night, so it’s one of the best times to write for me. :)
      Vlora recently posted…Legitimate Reasons Not to WriteMy Profile

      • Romi

        If you always get back to it, that’s fantastic. Writing isn’t really something I’d say is definable by a “date”- like, though I try I can’t really set myself an end date for my work, if that makes sense? Goals are goals, but… the book takes over, really.
        Haha! Maybe you procrastinate by writing (which is awesome)!? Well so long as your work is legible the next morning! I once wrote some pages pretty late at night and the next morning I had no idea what I was going on about. Literally no idea.
        Romi recently posted…Blogging and jealousy and discussing things.My Profile

  10. Jackie

    I’ve tried to do NaNoWriMo 3 times in the past, but I gave up a week in. I think last year I didn’t even bother. But maybe…maybe this is the year…Because you know, I have a feeling that this is going to be my year. The stars are going to align for me. I just know it!

    My biggest excuse is not enough research or not enough planning. I feel like I have to know exactly where I’m going before I start. I should just write with reckless abandon.
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    • Vlora


      That’s funny, because I always start writing with reckless abandon and then realize I should maybe have done more research and planning. It’s just… it’s so boring if I can’t surprise myself with where the story is going. :D
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