So many of us are called to write, and that calling can show up in a variety of forms. It can be a soft calling to journal once in a while to collect our thoughts or document the day, it can be a stronger calling to share a blog with our audience and to write about topics for our work and expertise, it can be a gut-wrenching calling that writing is our one true vehicle for expression in this life and that being a writer is our heart’s purpose on this earth. Wherever you are on the writing calling spectrum, my wish for you is that you answer that call. There is a reason that we are feeling drawn to writing and it’s so important for our spirits and our sense of fulfillment to honor it in our lives.
Although the desire may be quite present, we don’t always act on it. I often wonder why is it so hard to write when we really want to write? I’ve experienced it in my own life on an almost daily basis of waking up and wanting to spend the day writing but other “commitments” swoop in to fill the time and before I know it the day has passed and maybe the only thing I have written is a to-do list.
I am committing to myself to stop making excuses, and instead to make time for writing. I invite you to do the same by not letting these excuses keeping you from putting your pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
Excuse #1: No time to write
I get it, you’re busy. Kids, partners, work, pets, errands, and appointments all easily fill our schedules to the brim. If you feel like you don’t have time to write, here are 3 reframes to make time anyway:
Say “no” to things that don’t matter. What can you eliminate from your schedule that isn’t offering value to your life? I bet you there is something or many things. Unfulfilling friendships, errands that could be done online, extra projects at work, etc. might all be able to be reduced or eliminated from your schedule. Edit your current obligations to make time for your writing practice.
Set a realistic goal. Maybe you can’t write 5 days a week but that doesn't mean you can’t write at all. Maybe you can’t even write one day per week, but I will bet you anything that you can spend 5 minutes per day writing a few sentences in your journal, or 1 hour on a Sunday working on a blog post. Commit to small amounts first and build the habit, then try to increase the time.
Commit. We have all made time for some crazy things in our lives even when it didn’t seem possible. Treat writing with that same determination. Get up at 4AM to write. Stay up until midnight to write. Use your lunch break to write instead of socialize with coworkers. Yes, it might take sacrifice, but if you want to write commit to writing.
Excuse #2: Whatever I want to write has already been written
If you think of how many people there are in the human population, there is no chance that your exact thoughts and perspective has already been captured. Yes, many topics have been covered extensively, and some areas are more popular than others, but you are uniquely you, and nobody will be able to offer exactly what you can. Believe that.
I took a writer’s workshop recently and the instructor offered another great debunk of this myth by saying there are really only 2 types of the stories in the world anyway:
Man goes on a journey
Stranger comes to town
So if you think about how many countless works have come out of these 2 basic premises, don’t worry that someone else has already written it. There can always be a new version.
Excuse #3: I don’t have an MFA
Our inner-critic voices can chime in when we are doing anything new, creative, and vulnerable and poison our minds with thoughts like I don’t have a degree in writing so I’m not qualified to write, or before I can even pick up a pen and start working I better spend a ton of money and time getting a degree to show I’m legitimate. These voices hold us back. If you want to get an MFA or take some courses in writing by all means do that. I take writing courses here in Denver and find them to be incredibly motivating. But do not let the need for training get in the way of starting. Start today. There are so many incredible authors without formal training. There are also so many books and resources out there to improve your writing without going back to school. The best way to get better at writing is simply to write.
Excuse #4: I don’t have it in me to write a 300 page novel, so why bother writing at all
Writing comes in so many forms! You don’t have to work on a novel or a long-form piece of writing on your first day (or ever, for that matter!). Write a few sentences. Write a blog. Write an article. Write your family history. Write a letter. Write a poem. Write for however long you can in whatever form that speaks to you.