It's 4:10 AM, time to wake up. That's what my husband's alarm said this morning via the sound of shrill bells. Silly me, last night I thought it sounded like a good idea to get up and work on the book before the rest of the world joined me, and Ryan is good at making me follow through on my goals...too good.
Though I didn't get a lot of time to myself before a bad dream wrenched my 7 year old out of bed for the day (at 5:20 a.m!), I am choosing to be grateful that I made any progress at all. Look at the bright side, I could have just sat on Facebook or Twitter for my entire writing period, or even worse (or better?) I could have slept until 6 a.m. like usual.
Lately, I've found it difficult to make progress as I should. I haven't failed any goals, mostly because I haven't made any, but I have gone from writing every day to writing three times a week. I've gone from being willing to write anytime, anywhere, on anything, to demanding a computer. I've even gone so far as to require absolute silence and focus to write, something that as a mother of three, I'm rarely afforded...like never. So what happens? I didn't write for a couple of weeks. Then, when I began again, I only did so when I could take a break away from the house for a few hours- how realistic is that on a long-term basis...I'll tell you. It's NOT. This is part of a downward spiral of excuse making, and potentially something that would tear apart my ambitions. I'D BECOME A WRITING DIVA! Not in the awesome way, in the "nothing is good enough" way.
Then I was gifted a Kindle book called "Are You There Blog? It's Me Author" by my pal, Liz Shulte (who is a fantastic writer, check out her books on Amazon!), which I began reading right away since I need all the help I can get. Not 20% into the book, I got totally busted. The author gave three sample excuses for not writing and not taking ownership. Guess what? I got 2 out of 3, but unlike it was for Meatloaf, 2 out of 3 is really bad! Those two were 1) I'd write more if I had a better computer, and 2) I'd write more if I had more uninterrupted time. Oh, man. That hurt. I was totally pegged.
My computer, which has always been a bit of a lug anyway, died for the umpteenth time a couple of months ago. We've attempted to resurrect it countless times; it has more lives than our cat. But it flat lined again and I lost my will to keep trying, leaving us with only a teensy, tiny netbook left for all household computer needs. *gasp* I wanted to buy one, REALLY BAD, a nice new one, one that doesn't threaten to die on a daily basis making me backup my work every other minute, just in case. But, we're purchasing a home, so we are saving like crazy...not a good time for a major purchase. Frustrations mounting, I created excuse #1.
As you may already know from my profile, I have 3 young and very spirited children. They adorable, they're sweet, they're my pride and joy, and they're NOISY! They rampage around, playing with the dog, chasing the cat, eating everything, asking for drinks, wanting to draw, paint, make things out of clay, play guns, play video games, run outside, fight, cry, tattle, jump, hug, kiss, wrestle, talk, sing, scream...rarely do they sit still and never are they quiet. Quiet means trouble.
Though when the story hit me initially, nothing could derail my tenacity to make words appear on paper, but over time, when I had to work harder to make the story progress, get through writer's block, come up with problems, solutions, character development, etc...every giggle, every tap on my shoulder was a force strong enough to derail my train of thought, which had gone from being a Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) to a rambling toy train half chewed by the dog. Why bother writing at home at all? I didn't. I wrote when I could leave and go to my favorite writing place...a certain coffee shop called the Inner Bean, which I could do only Tuesday and Thursday, because that's when they stayed open long enough for me to get there after my husband got home from work and I could escape. Wow, two days a week...regardless of the fact that I did get a lot more done during those times, my 2 year old would be in middle school before I could get this book published at that rate. Thus I beget excuse #2.
Forget the fact that we're moving (excuse #3). Forget the fact that movers are coming tomorrow. Forget that I need a new computer. Forget that I need work space and time. Life is messy and it will never be in a place that makes you slow down enough to take a breath, stretch out and say "Ahhhhh...now I can do this." If I wait for that, I'll always be a writer that doesn't write, an author that never publishes. It's the only way I can be a failure.
So, I've made some changes.
- I'm going to make myself goals. I can't reach goals if I don't make them.
- I'm going to create deadlines.
- I'm going to get up early or stay up late, whatever it takes to find the time to write for a little bit at least 6 days per week.
- I'm going to make a plan to get a new computer, but in the meantime, I will work with whatever resources I have available. I will use the netbook, I will find a library, I will get out my pen if I have to.
- I'm going to keep a positive outlook and not allow life's curve balls to take me out.
So, for all those writers out there that fall victim to the "I would write more if..." thoughts, for anyone who thinks that the perfect moment to reach your goals will present itself naturally, WAKE UP! If you don't take accountability for your future, if you don't grab your excuses by the gullet and squeeze the breath out of them, they'll keep you down forever.
Remember, excuses are like Today. You've got one. What you do with it is up to you.
Have a great day. NO EXCUSES!