Pardon me….

That is quite simply what excuses are asking for, a pardon from taking resposibility.

And writing is a responsibility if you are serious about accomplishing something with it. This goes for any type of writing.

If you are not reaching the goals or success levels that you have hoped for in your writing, there is definitely a reason, but it may not be the pardon me reasons that you have been telling or selling to yourself.

Self preservation is coded into our human DNA. Did you know that the reason being tickled causes so much agony is because the pain receptors are sending messages to the brain, an alert that we are not okay, that we are in danger? That is why we may lash out at our tickle attacker.

Since the caveman days (or before) our brains and bodies possessed certain natural defense mechanisms to keep us safe. Over time, through our natural evolution in the changing world – one of these highly developed defenses reveals itself through excuses.

We writers are notorious for implementing a wide range of excuses for why:

  • We have not been able to finish our work in progress (WIP)
  • We are not #1 or in the top 100
  • No one is reading or purchasing our book
  • We have three WIPs going and making no progress

The list is endless and so is the one for excuses:

  • Not enough time
  • Too exhausted
  • Weak readership in my genre
  • I have to write to what’s trending and I’m not good at it
  • I’m too original or radical
  • I’ve run out of ideas
  • Etcetera, etcetera….

What we are doing with all these excuses is pardoning ourselves from responsibility. We are protecting ourselves from the harsher truths of our own failings. We are giving self-comfort in order to allow ourselves to take the easy road of no pressure, no worries, because nothing has to be our fault this way.

But the result of travelling on this easy breezy road is in fact that we eventually come to a dead end.

Excuses get us nowhere. If we are going to succeed, we must stop lying to ourselves and become willing to examine the reality of our situation.

If we swear that lack of time is more than just an excuse, we need to step back and examine this carefully. Is it the truth? To make a fair and just determination of this we can test out the truth versus lie ratio. Start tracking where your time is going. How much time are you spending on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest? How about watching t.v? Or YouTube? Whether or not lack of enough time is the truth or a self protecting lie, there are actions you can take to help yourself.

Start planning your time. Get a planner, or create a weekly agenda. Determine what times of the day you will set aside for writing and for how long. Manage time for marketing, or research, too. Planning your days will help you realize how much time really is available to you and enable you to take smart advantage of it, too.

If you have hopped over to another genre in order to catch the wave of a hot trend and now are struggling to write anything – STOP. You will be drowning in excuses in no time. For one, nobody knows how long a trend will last and chances are if you are there only to try and cash in, you will probably fail. If you usually write Western Romances and the trend is for SCI-FI Vampires on Planet X-on5. Walk away. No excuses necessary.

Now, if you have always wanted to write on a particular trend or switch genres, regardless of the potential rewards, be prepared to voluntarily step out of your comfort zone. Plan on investing the right amount of research and energy to do this switch over justice. Find out what the tropes are and what readers expect and enjoy. Because that is what sells books. Lack of that – and here come the creeping legs of excuses again….

In summary, it is easy to excuse ourselves when we are not doing as well as we would like, and it’s okay to a point. Just be aware that not all your excuses may be the whole truth and you may be rolling around in bubble wrap.

“To rush into explanations is always a sign of weakness.”

-Agatha Christie

Take care,

Joan

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