Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fives- "But I don't Wanna..." Excuses Writers Should Nix (via Paper Hanover)

Song of the Day: Excuses by Alanis Morisette

The blog Paper Hangover hosts its weekly Friday Fives! This week's question is:

What are FIVE excuses you have to be ready to give up in order to be a better writer?

1. I don't have the time to write.
That excuse is complete and total bologna. You do have the time. I have the time. We all have the time. I too, used this excuse. I know I ALWAYS talk about NanoWriMo, but I can't help it. It changed my life. Nano taught me that I do have the time. It proved that I simply, "can."
2. My writing isn't good enough to submit.
If you put in the hard work, then someone will like your writing. Sure, it's the most demoralizing thing in the world when you get a rejection in your inbox, but you have got to pick yourself up and move forward. How will you be published if you don't get your work out there? Keep trying, your work is as good as you want it to be.
3. I don't have time to read.
If you don't have time to read, then forget about becoming a better writer. You MUST read. Most writers actually like to read, but reading in a way is like work. Some books you read for pleasure, some for research. When you read in your genre, you are researching and learning your industry. It just so happens that doing that is actually fun at the same time.
4. I'm waiting for...
Waiting for what? I also used this excuse before. I didn't write my novel because I was waiting to become a better writer. What? Looking back, it sounds do ridiculous. I had to learn that by sitting down and writing that novel, I was becoming a better writer. I wasn't becoming a better writer by waiting to write a novel. I wish I had realized this sooner.
5. If I write about a certain topic, what will they think of me?
I'm still struggling with this, but really, who cares what they think? The best writers push the envelope. Just look at Joyce Carol Oates. She writes what is most controversial, something I love about her. It's called fiction for a reason. If other people don't get that, why do we care so much? One of my favorite quotes (and one I remind myself of frequently) is: "What other people think about you is none of your business."
Bottom line, we writers are full of excuses. The trick is to remember the part of you that wants to be a writer. The part that can't stop coming up with story ideas, the part that feels disconnected when you don't write, the part that's stronger than the excuses.
Can you think of any excuses that we writers should stop making in order to become better at our craft?


  1. #5 Is the most corrosive one I think. You can't write good fiction if you're worrying what other people think all the time. Great list!

  2. Yeah #5 is a big one, and one of the harder ones to get over. Great list!

  3. Ack! Totally #4 for me. Waiting to read more in my genre, waiting to finish school, waiting to find a crit group. No more waiting!

  4. Oy. #5 is a biggie.

    If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "You write young adult? So when are you going to write a real book?"

    Seriously? That's EXACTLY why I write YA. It's as real as you're ever gonna get. Sex, drugs, bullies, friends, enemies, first loves, Friday night football games, you name it, it probably happened in high school. And you can bet, I'm gonna write about it.

    "What other people think is none of your business." Love. It.

  5. I'm so with you about the reading thing. I love reading, but work always gets in the way. I plan on catching up big time this summer. :)

  6. I feel like everyone uses your first excuse! I totally agree with you on all of these. :)