my good deed for the day : : taking your excuses away from you

January 07, 2019

I hear it from emerging writers all the time. From working writers, too, for that matter. I’ve got a great idea for a novel. I’m going to sit down and write it as soon as I…

…get my day job under control
…quit my day job
…get my final kid into kindergarten
…into college …out of jail
…get my finances in order
…fix my marriage …fix my kid
…finish painting the house
…pay off the car
…clean the can opener
…clean the rain gutters
…get the puppy housebroken
…retire from my job
…finish binge-watching the third season of _______
…get my Bachelor’s…Master’s…PhD…LLB…MD
…pay off my student loans
…read all the Outlander books
…check in with my nineteen thousand Facebook friends
…upgrade my computer
…make tenure
…landscape the yard
…take a vacation
…host my book group
…teach my teenager to drive
…finish knitting this sweater
…forgive my parents …forgive myself
…get over my fear of failure …get over my fear of success
…get permission from my parents/spouse/children/therapist
…hire an agent
…learn to use the subjunctive case
…quit worrying about what my family will think of my story, especially the dirty parts
…stop smoking/drinking/drug of choice/playing online games
…figure out the business of publishing
…lose 20 pounds so I look good in my author photo…
…as soon as I ________________ [fill in with your favorite excuse]
You name it, and a procrastinating writer has said it. How do I know? Um…. So here’s a dirty little secret. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the cruel reality is this. There will never be a good time to write. I wrote my early novels while holding down a teaching job, raising a young child, managing a household with two dogs and a lot of chaos, financial uncertainty, car trouble, you get the picture. And yet I wrote two books a year during that time.

I learned early on in my journey that life will always intrude. That’s what life is. Be glad for that. If you have no life, you have nothing to write about.
The good news is, there’s a simple solution. Make time for the things that are important to you. If writing your story is important, make time for it. Simple as that. Turn off the TV, stop the streaming service, leave the dishes undone, close your e-mail, turn off your phone, grab a notebook and pen, and tell your family, “Don’t interrupt me unless your eyes are bleeding.” You’ll be surprised by the respect they give you.

The way you spend your day is the way you spend your life. So quit being your own worst enemy and start being your own best friend. Make time to write, even if you don’t have time.

It’s a fresh new year. Great time to make a fresh new start.

I have procrastinated my way through the writing of many books. Somehow, despite my best efforts to sabotage myself. the story emerges. The Oysterville Sewing Circle hits the shelves this year–a Wiggs book, but something completely different from me. And Map of the Heart is a giveaway on Goodreads right this minute. There’s a lot of love and truth in these books. Let me know what you think.

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