Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I didn't write today

You know when you have those days, you get to the end and you feel like you've achieved nothing? You haven't written a single thing and your characters are pouting in the corner? You know the ones. And then you find yourself justifying your lack of success by telling yourself (or others) things like:
  • I didn't have time, there was so much housework to get done, or
  • my evil day job (EDJ) is just too draining
  • I had no inspiration to speak of today
  • the family was visiting, I couldn't lock myself off from the world to get any words
  • or any number of other wildly fantastical reasons (the dog ate my computer?)

Hmm.. these are all painfully familiar to me, or at least some variation on them is. And when you look at the words closely, pull off the silly mask and the technicolour wig, you see them for what they really are: an EXCUSE.

Don't let the evil excuse fairy get you fellow writers! If he shows his ugly face jump on him before he can run amock, then stick him in the laundry cupboard. Make sure you leave a heavy pile of dirty washing in front of the door just to really annoy him. And then walk away.

Tell yourself:
I might well be super busy today, and the family's coming to visit, and I really need to do that thing (you know that thing?), but I'm still going to sit down, set a 10 minute timer, and get something. And then I'll know I have succeeded because I haven't allowed the evil excuse fairy, or the nasty procrastination pixie to win.
And then remember that, when you're writing, failure is only having no words for the day. You can't revise what you haven't written.

I'm off to get words.

Have you done your 10 minutes today? How do you go about slaying the evil excuse fairy? Or is this never a problem for you?


  1. Oh I definitely have this problem! For the past few hours, actually. Darn excuses. Now I'll have to go pour a cup of tea and write my own words! So thank you for the push. :)

  2. Yay good luck Andrea! I'm sure you can do it. I find that even when the excuse fairy and procrastination pixie are having a particularly convincing day, if I set the 10 minute timer I can make myself sit down to do that. And often, by the time the 10 minutes is up I don't want to stop.

  3. Good job you! I might have to try that 10 minute thing. Though doing SOMETHING isn't usually my problem--doing something good is. :) I find that I'm more annoyed if I write a chapter that totally sucks than if I write nothing at all.

  4. Oh boy, the excuse fairy has a bedroom at our house. I've learned tolock him up by setting a time in the morning to write. Now the only excuse I have is not getting out of bed.

  5. I have the opposite problem. I use the "I have to write" excuse to get out of a lot. I've made a goal to write 750 words a day of randomness. It usually ends up as a 1,000 word rant. I've got a ten day streak going. :D

    Good luck stomping the Excuse Fairy! (That picture cracks me up by the way!)

  6. Me and the Excuse Fairy are having a bit of a slap fest right now. His ugliness is throwing some real life busy stuff my way and I'm feeling spread pretty thin. I need to kick him to the curb on trash day.

    Terrific post. :)


  7. I love the procrastination pixie - I have one in residence here :D

    If I don't want to sit and write...I'll just remember the 10 minute rule :)
    You are so very right - it's impossible to revise a blank screen.

    Happy writing!

  8. Thanks Maggie. I envy your problem! At least you have something to revise. And I happen to know what you write doesn't suck coz I get to read it ;).

    Kari Marie, that made me laugh. That's so great that you've figured out a way to beat the excuse fairy. But yes getting out of bed can be hard.

    Thanks Madeline, I love that you use writing as an excuse to get out of other stuff. And yea the picture's cute.

    I hope you land some good hits Lola and teach him a lesson! I know what you mean about real life busy stuff, I've just been in Perth for a week visiting family and friends and haven't written the whole time.

    Thanks Prue. The 10 minute timer is great for when I'm having one of those don't want to do anything days. And by the time I finally start writing I usually end up sitting at the computer for a lot longer.

    Thanks for the comments everyone.