30 Excuses for Why I “Can’t” Write Today

I’m tired of making excuses to myself. So in a fit of pique I scribbled out a list of all the reasons I can think of not to write.

These are transcribed exactly how I wrote them, questionable grammar and all.

1. It’s hard.
2. I can’t make a routine because of my shifts @ work.
3. I’ll never make a living at it. (why bother?)
4. My friends are humoring me.
5. I’ll probably get sued.
6. No one reads horror.
7. I’ll never get rich writing e-books.
8. The internet is more fun.
9. I need uninterrupted time and quiet and a thunderstorm or perfect Fall sunlight and…
10. Who do I think I am, anyway?
11. My ideas are stupid and no one has told me.
12. I don’t like to give up other things to make the time.
13. The tax forms are confusing.
14. It’s all been done before.
15. I can’t describe exactly what I see in my head.
16. I’m afraid of cliches.
17. I don’t have a proper editor and am probably making so many mistakes.
18. My office is messy.
19. I want the lifestyle but I don’t want to put in the work — I want it just to happen.
20. My job gets in my way.
21. It’ll just get stolen anyway.
22. There are a million other people doing the same thing as me at the same time as me.
23. I don’t have an English degree.
24. I’m already behind on The Plan.
25. It’s a pain to lug my laptop around.
26. I could write more at work if there was a table in the locker room for me to sit at.
27. I’m not great at networking.
28. I can’t concentrate.
29. What if I actually write a novel then hate it?
30. I’m scared.

Honestly, there are some thoughts on this list that I’m not especially proud of. But I’m glad I wrote it out: the whole list was written in only a couple of minutes, and it felt good to get it out of my system. I figured I’d post it here as a confession of sorts. There must be other (new) authors out there feeling at least some of these things.

Now that I see it in front of me, I can see how ridiculous some of these thoughts are, and how the “obstacles” that seemed so big are really just me being lazy or cowardly or…

Feel free to make whatever comments you’d like on this one: I’m having an introspective Let’s Get Real kind of moment. Do you share any of these feelings? What are your go-to excuses?

13 thoughts on “30 Excuses for Why I “Can’t” Write Today

  • All of these apply to me except the ones about work, since I’m currently unemployed. But I’m super scared. And the more people seem to be interested in my book’s concept, the more I think I’m kidding myself, which is completely counter-intuitive. Ugh. Thanks for allowing me to vent with you.

  • There are days when I think everything I write is crap. Utter crap. And then I wonder, who in their right minds will read this and actually like it? Then lo and behold, someone reads a chapter and loves it, so I guess it’s not such crap after all.

    • I’ve heard several times to write for yourself, and know that someone out there will like it (I’m paraphrasing and probably mangling that horribly; I can’t remember the source). It makes sense. But that’s hardly a comfort when you’re in the early roughs and you’re ready to throw your laptop into the wall in frustration.

  • Absolutely!! Your list looks like the one in my head. At least you’re blogging. I haven’t blogged in months because of some of these ‘excuses.’ It’s kind if sad but I feel the urge slowly coming back.

    • Thanks for the response! It’s so nice to know it’s not just me.

      As to the blogging thing, I somehow convinced my monkey-brain that I have to blog every day, no matter what. Somehow that stuck and became habit. I think it’s because blogging is always fun, whereas writing is more “serious” so there’s more at stake.

      Good luck with your blog!

  • I’m tired, is another good excuse. Or one of the zillion jobs that need doing around the house that weren’t interesting until I sat down to write… I also get massive nerves around my writing. I can really relate to the “my friends are humouring” me excuse. Ultimately, I write because I love it (most of the time!), if other people like my what I write, then it’s a bonus.

    • Oh, “I’m tired”! How did I miss that one? It’s one of my favourites.

      I enjoy writing (when it’s not making me want to destroy things), but I think my competitive nature is driving me nuts. I’m not out to be the best, by any means, but the fact that there’s no objective way to determine “good” writing frustrates me. I like to think my stuff is good, at least most of the time, but there’s no real way to know. It makes me doubt myself.

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