10 Common Excuses to Not Write

I’m not in the mood. This is one of the major obstructions that you as a writer must overcome.  Every writer has a moment where it seems impossible to write. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why, but often we create reasons not to write.

The following lists some common excuses writers use to not write and how you can handle them.

  1. I feel too exhausted to write. I’m sure many of us can relate to this one, even if we aren’t a writer. Let me first state that there will be times where you need to take a break from writing. That’s fine if you need a break every so often (you are human after all), but it’s not okay if you are going more than a week without writing. Identify what is making you feel so exhausted and fix it. Eat healthier if you need to. Stick to a routine such as making time to write once you get up in the morning. Change some of your habits so you don’t feel so tired much of the day.
  2. I’m feeling overwhelmed emotionally. Maybe you are feeling depressed, coping with the loss of a loved one, feeling angry at someone else, or experiencing frustration with the world in general. It’s understandable why you may not want to write during these moments. However, writing can actually help you emotionally. Many researchers have stated the benefits of expression through writing. Not to mention that many authors write amazing work during moments where they feel overwhelmed. Understand that writing can and will help you cope with the emotions you are feeling.
  3. I don’t know what to write about. Everyone has periods where they go through writer’s block. One part of writing is making time to find things worth writing about. A part of your writing process can be planning what you will write. Make use of creative writing prompts to get started. Creative writing prompts can sometimes help with writer’s block.
  4. There is just no time in the day. Many of us have busy schedules. The average person has a full-time job, a family to help support, errands that need to be completed throughout the day, social activities to help us stay sane, and tons of other things. Here is the real deal and this can be hard for many of us to chew on. If you want to be a writer, then you must make time for it. Making time requires constant reorganization of your priorities and good time-management. You might have to cut out some social activities, maybe write during your lunch break, ask your family to support you by letting you have some quiet time for at least an hour a day so you can write.
  5. I’m too distracted by the internet to write. You don’t have to be a writer to use this excuse. Being on your computer is distracting. One moment you are searching for some information to help guide your writing, and the next moment you are watching cat videos on YouTube. If surfing the Internet poses too much of a threat to your writing, then shut down the your internet connection. Another idea is to create a good balance of handwriting material and writing on the computer. Spending some time writing in a notebook may prevent additional distractions.
  6. I’m distracted by video games, sports, or TV and don’t want to write. Entertainment is great and certainly useful when you need time to really relax and take a break. The best thing to do in this situation is to uninstall the video game, unplug the TV, or choose to write at a nearby coffee shop. Make sure to separate yourself from a distracting environment. If you have a roommate or live with your spouse, then consider asking them to help you meet your goals by asking them to encourage you to stop watching TV or playing games when you should be writing.
  7. My writing is terrible and I’m not in the mood to do it anymore. It’s normal to feel that your work isn’t good every so often. This is a feeling that almost all writers share at least one point in their lives. If you truly feel your writing is terrible then do some other things that will simultaneously improve your self-confidence in your own writing and help you keep writing. Ask a fellow writer to review your work for you. This will allow you to get good feedback on your actual writing and help you regain confidence. Also, consider participating in a workshop or taking an upper-level creative writing course at a local college. Doing either of those two things will put you in an environment where you can actively improve your writing, get feedback for your work and develop good and meaningful critical skills. Nobody starts out perfectly at writing. It’s a process. Take time to develop your writing and find the strengths and weaknesses in your work.
  8. I have too many ideas and I don’t know where to focus my energy. Writing can be extremely motivating for people, to the point where one may be almost too ready to begin. Your mind is brimming with ideas. but you are facing hard questions like where to start, what to focus on first, which character should be fleshed out. Each writer will have a different tactic, but my main suggestion is to start writing. There have been amazing books that were written over a period of days or weeks. When inspiration strikes, go with it. Another tactic is to develop an outline. Developing an outline may help you pinpoint areas that you want to start developing first and keep your ideas organized.
  9. I don’t know if this is what I want to write about. Writing is a big time investment. Perhaps you have an idea, but are unsure if you want to go with it. The great thing about writing is that you can revise it and change your tactic any time you want. It’s very possible to start a story with one idea in mind and end up dumping that idea entirely. There are many poets who revise their poems numerous times after writing them. Remember that just because you write something, does not mean it has to stay that way forever. It’s your work, so mold it however you choose. As you write continue to gain feedback from writers about whether or not the story is moving in a good direction. Either way, don’t let the fear of writing a terrible book or poem throw your off of your writing stride. Being a writer is risky, and remember that you have complete control over where your work goes.
  10. I would rather hang out with my friends, family members or spouse. Perhaps you are a writer who has a family and feels guilty spending time writing when you could spend extra time with your family. Maybe you just fell in love and feel more tempted to spend time with your significant other. Perhaps socializing with your friends just seems like a more tempting option. Writing should be fun for you and something you enjoy doing. Writing should never feel like it’s getting in the way of your fun. If you truly feel like that, then it would be best to reevaluate the role that your writing has in your life. Are you making writing a chore you need to perform everyday? Are you writing about something you don’t like? Maintaining a social life is vital to your health. Giving your spouse and family quality time is extremely important. However, these should not be frequently used as a reason to avoid writing. If they are, take a good, hard look at what writing means to you. Furthermore talk to your friends, family, and spouse about your writing. Having them be aware of how critical it is may help you balance your time with them.