Recently I realised something I am embarrassed to admit; I make up excuses, a lot of excuses. It was pointed out to by someone asking, “And what number is that?” in response to one of my detailed and plausible reasons for not doing something that I should have done. I looked at him blankly and he broke it to me (not at all gently), “You have an excuse for everything, so I figured you must number them for easy reference, and I was just wondering what number excuse that was?” As if that wasn’t bad enough, he now asks me for the excuse number EVERY TIME I come up with an excuse (or even something that could be misconstrued as an excuse). It has got to the point where I just add the number once I have reeled off my explanation.
In reality, excuses are not very helpful. If you make up a reason for not doing something, it is probably because you should be doing it. And before something becomes a ‘should’ it was usually an ‘I would like to’ (get my tax done, write the novel synopsis, go to the dentist). If you just did these things as soon as they were identified, instead of wasting your creative energy on making up reasons for not doing them, think of how much more progress you would make in all aspects of your life, not just your writing.
I have a bunch of useless writing excuses;
# 357 I don’t have time to boot up the computer to write before I have to go out.
# 286 I need to wait until I’ve researched that thingamajig before I can write any more of this story.
# 155 I have to finish the washing/vacuuming/trinket dusting before I can write.
They go on, but I’m sure you get the idea…
So next time you hear yourself making up an excuse, no matter how credible it might seem, ask yourself for the excuse number. It will open your eyes to how often we put off progress when instead we could be driving it!