1. Theres not enough time- Check
again. If you want something badly enough youll make time for it.
Remember, you like writing! Evaluate what you do with the hours in your day;
TV, computer games, surfing the web etc. Look for wasted moments and make
adjustments. Then set aside time for writing every day, even if its only for
a short while. Things that are planned and scheduled are more likely to get
done. A speaker at a recent conference, encouraged writers to get up an hour
earlier each morning and write. Thats 365 additional hours of writing in a
2. I need office supplies- No you
dont, unless your computer died and went to computer purgatory or youre
using pen and paper and youve run out. (Fat chance. When youre habitually
procrastinating, you dont use up a lot of supplies.) Just sit down at your
computer or your notebook and write. Printer paper, ink cartridges, staples,
ladybug push pins and other stuff can wait until youve finished.
3. The phone keeps ringing- Are you
expecting a call from an editor or an agent? If the answer is no, take the
phone off the hook or screen calls with Caller ID. Use voice mail or an
answering machine to collect messages. Change your outgoing message to include
specific hours when you are available for calls. Reply to messages only during
scheduled breaks. Encourage people to contact you by email so youll have
fewer calls to deal with.
4. I need to check/answer these emails- Most
emails can wait a bit, especially those promising enlarged body parts. Block
out time for email communication. Mute your email notification signal so it
doesnt distract you while youre creating something fabulous.
5. My brain is fuzzy- Whats new? You still
need to stick to a discipline of writing every day and sending manuscripts out
at least once a week. Sometimes simply engaging your mind will send those cob
webs floating away. If that doesnt work, do some stretching by your chair to
get blood flowing toward your gray matter. This is superior to cup after cup
of coffee because it doesnt create the need for a toilet break every 10
6. My desk is too messy- Big deal!
Shove stuff over and get busy. Worry about the mess after you write. Unless
your keyboard is buried under debris, you can function. Getting organized is a
noble desire; but dont let it cut into what you really must do; write.
Housekeeping wont put checks in your mailbox.
7. I have to finish reading this book-
Ah, my favorite. I love reading. It keeps the mind alive. We all ought to
read a wide variety of material. However, all reading and no writing will get
you a big $0 at the bank. Use reading as a reward for good writing
8. People might not like what Ive written-
Face it. Some people wont like your writing. However, youll never
know who does and who doesnt unless you send it. Make one day of the week
your manuscript mailing day. No guts, no glory truly applies when it comes to
getting your writing out there. You cant sell work that never leaves your
9. Im stuck in the piece Im working on-
Too bad. You still have to write, so if your current project is stopped at
a concrete barrier in your head, give it a rest. Dig out a
treasure-in-progress from the past and work on that for a while. Often,
getting involved in a different creative endeavor is whats needed to jiggle
things loose in your mind. Soon youll be ready to return to the previous
manuscript and finish.
10. Other humans dont respect my schedule and
interrupt me- Whose fault is this? Your family and friends will take
their cues from you. If you treat your writing as a business theyll get the
message. Put a "DONT KNOCK UNLESS YOURE BLEEDING FROM AN ARTERY OR YOUR HAIR
IS ON FIRE!" sign on your door. Speak with the people in your life to
help them understand your position. Assure them that their support is vital to
Debbie Haskins is a freelance writer living in Ft. Collins, Colorado.