Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Excused Not to Write?

Chances are if you are reading my blog, you are a writer in some capacity. You may be a freelance writer trying to make a living, or perhaps writing is one of your favorite hobbies and you are literally aching to give it a real whirl and see what you are really made of. Regardless, of why you write, it is important to stay on track.

For me it's far too easy to let life get in the way of my writing. Please allow me to translate this last sentence in more understandable terms: I make excuses. OK, so maybe it's more like procrastination. When I sit down at my computer to write, I subconsciously find reasons not to write. First I check my email, then read articles from the various newsletters I receive, I read my favorite blogs, and one thing leads to another. By the time I'm "ready" to write, my time is up. I have to go tend to another responsibility.

So what do you do to get past this? Well, if you succumb to this same type of behavior, you may first begin by comforting yourself with this thought: Some of the most successful writers are also great procrastinators. So don't be too hard on yourself, but beware that it doesn't become destructive to your writing goals. I've tried a few ideas that might also be helpful to you.

Number one, give yourself an allotted amount of playtime to check your email, read your favorite blogs, or surf the internet. Set a timer and when it goes off, then so does the internet (unless you are using it for research or it directly pertains to your writing). This really works, I've tried it.

Set deadlines for yourself. This is very advisable when you are getting paid to write. You don't want to disappoint a client and lose a good reputation or potential work in the future. But even if you don't have to turn something in by a certain date, making yourself believe you do, helps get the job done.

Finally, try to do your writing at the same time every day. My time is in the afternoon when my children are asleep and my husband is at work. I don't have a ton of time to write at this stage in my life, so I think about what it is I want or need to accomplish and focus my mind on that goal.

God has given us a great gift and talent. As I get back into the swing of writing again, I must also remind myself that a busy life is not an excuse not to write, and procrastination is not productive. Determination and focus, will however help me meet my writing goals, and the same goes for you!

Until next time take care and stay focused!


Michele said...

Very motivating, Lisa! It's true, the fun things (blogs, newsletters...) eat up tons of time if we allow it. It's hard to pull ourselves away sometimes, though! I agree, it's easiest to write when we turn the internet off and just focus on that blank page. :-)

Thanks for your nice comment on my blog!


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Lillie Ammann said...

Wise idea to allot yourself a specific amount of time to "procrastinate," Lisa. Not allowing a little play time doesn't make us more productive; in most cases, we don't accomplish anything anyway.

Lisa Vella said...


I could spend all day checking out all those different resources. I'm so afraid I'm going to miss something -- a useful piece of information, something educational, or something just plain fun or enjoyable to read. I set a limit for my children, so why shouldn't I for myself as well?


I can't believe you, of all people ever have a non-productive day! Your blog posts speak volumes of how much writing you get done --and how much knowledge you have! Thank you for sharing that with us!

Thanks for the comments, Ladies. Hope you are having a wonderful, and productive day (with a little playtime to temper it with!).


Betsy Henning said...

My dear Lisa,

How did you get so smart?!? This is great advice for youngsters and oldsters alike!

And the tip you offered yesterday while helping paint my kitchen -- I'm on it.

:-) Bets
P.S. Thanks for giving up your writing time to help me!

Lisa Vella said...

Well, Bets, I don't know about smart, but I do know painting your kitchen was an afternoon well spent!

Talk to you soon!

Love Lisa