We were out to dinner with some friends last night (yes, our neighborhood bounced back from Hurricane Sandy pretty darn quick). While we were waiting for our food, they asked how my writing was coming. I proceeded to make noncommittal noises and launch into a stuttering explanation of why progress had been slow lately. My friend winked. “I’ve got about six months of excuses ready myself,” he said.
He’s absolutely right. I have been making excuses.
I was sick. There was a hurricane. My father-in-law died. These might be good excuses, but they are still excuses.
There is very little writing advice that everyone agrees on, but one tenet I think most would say is reasonable is this: you should write even (maybe especially?) when you don’t feel like writing. If you only write when the muse strikes or the planets are aligned or life is good…well, you won’t get very far. And lately I haven’t been getting very far.
Sure, I’ve set deadlines and made pronouncements, but those things have not changed either my attitude or my behavior. It’s one thing to assert that you’ll finish your revisions by the end of the month. It’s another to believe that’s true and act on it. I’ve done the former but not the latter.
This brief conversation with my friend made me realize that I don’t need a bunch of sticks (or carrots) to get going again. I need a perspective change. I love writing, and I love the projects I’m working on. Why am I letting a bunch of circumstances external to that love get in my way? The things that have kept me from writing lately have nothing to do with insufficient time and everything to do with my state of mind. Unacceptable.
So. No more excuses.
Time to write.
(and, to my friend who probably had no idea his comment would have such a big impact on me…thanks!)