Thursday, January 22, 2015

Excuses, Reasons, and Distractions

We've all been there. You pull up your work in progress, stare at the cursor blinking and think, "Okay, what now?" Or maybe you know "what now", but just can't seem to get it worded like you want it. Frustration sets in, and you find excuses, reasons, and distractions to just not write.

After all, it really is true you need to wash a load of towels. They've been sitting in the hamper for two days now. And what about that chocolate cake you promised your family you'd bake? Don't they come first? Then there's that latest episode of Dr.Who/Downtown Abbey/Days of Our Lives you recorded. You might just get some inspiration from watching; you never know.

When I pulled up my manuscript, nothing loaded

The truth is, there are more excuses not to write than there are words in your manuscript. I've just been through some exasperating situations that have stopped me. First, I intentionally deleted about 1,500 words from my current book and started over. Thanks goodness I wasn't too far along. I just felt I needed a different and better start. Then, a few days later after rewriting the beginning, I lost over 2,000 words accidentally. When I pulled up my manuscript, nothing loading. My computer, having a mind of its own, decided to download some updates and restart itself, and that's when I lost my work. Even the auto save feature failed me. Thanks, Bud. I tried everything to get those elusive words back, but they were just gone - lost forever in the depths of my computer, never to return to me. Yes, I know you are supposed to back up your work, and I was going to. Since I was just starting over, I had not done an initial back up. I won't make that mistake again.

After realizing I had no choice but to start over for the third time, (and wailing uncontrollably), I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to it first thing the next morning. Only I couldn't. I woke up in a lot of pain. It felt as if a sadistic slasher had carved his initials in my lower back with a chain saw. It hurt to move. Heck, it hurt to breathe. This pain was not new to me; I had experienced it before. It was the pain of a herniated disc. After a visit to my doctor confirmed this, I started physical therapy. I am also dealing with some right hand pain,
which Doc said is arthritis. We are waiting on blood work to tell us which type. As of this writing, I am feeling better, but I still cannot sit or stand for long periods of time. Both of those things cause pain in my lower back. So, sitting at the computer and using the keyboard for longer than thirty minutes or so at a time, especially with a painful hand as well, is not an option.

Now I have a legitimate excuse to not write, at least not too much at a time. In fact, this blog post will be all I can manage for a little while. My original goal was to blog at least once a week, and more often if possible. Surely the Lord has a reason for slowing me down. I have no idea what it is, but He does. Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying divine intervention is making me suffer; only that there is a reason for everything. If I had paid attention in the first place, I might not have lost my work or been forced to stop writing temporarily. It's all because of my own actions. God does care about the details of our lives. If He is interested enough to know the number of hairs on our heads, then surely He is.

 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. - Luke 12:7.

If you want to be a writer, then you must write. 

There is no argument. If you want to be a writer, then you must write. And write some more. Then do it again. However, let me qualify this. The next time you get stuck on a writing project and want a distraction, don't feel too guilty. That's not a permission slip to put off your work in progress indefinitely. It's more like a respite. If you feel very strongly you need to take a break, it could be someone other than yourself guiding you. Don't wait until you are totally frustrated and want to delete your entire manuscript, or are confronted with a physical reason to stop. Go outside and take a walk, or bake some brownies. Most of all, don't feel guilty just because you got off schedule, and never compare your writing habits with someone else. You are not them, and what they do may not work for you. You'll know when it's time to return to your project.You are welcome.

Happy Writing!



  1. Thank you for the encouraging words! I am there now. But so sorry to hear about your injuries and pain! I pray you will heal fast!

  2. You're very welcome. It's something I have to remind myself about on a daily basis. And prayers very much appreciated. I'm getting better every day. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. YES! The small voice isn't always wrong (it isn't always right either - but it isn't always wrong). Great post, Betts - and praying much for you. NO fun!

  4. Exactly what I think. I wish I had listened to that small voice to start with. Maybe I wouldn't have had such extremes to deal with. Thanks for the prayers, too, and thanks for stopping by.