Excuses. We all use them. Most of the time, they are valid because we have to prioritize the million things we require ourselves to do. Notice how I say, 'require ourselves to do?" Because we have choices, from the time we choose to get up until the time we choose to go to bed. My grandmother used to say, "The only thing constant in this life is death and taxes." That first part still seems valid today. We can't choose our death. We can choose not to pay taxes, but there is a consequence. Just like everything else we choose not to do. I hear all the time that most people don't have time to sit down and write. They have a story, but they just don't have time to write it.
I believe you. Right now, in your life, you don't have time to write. Writing is a very engaging process that takes effort. When you're writing, it's really difficult to fold the clothes, do dishes, or drive the kids to soccer practice. I get it. I struggle every day to get my personal writing in and I'm a professional writer.
It's all about focus, to tell you the truth. I don't focus on my own personal writing. I know, as a new writer, you don't know how to focus on your writing. I've said this before, it's much like working out. If you don't do it, the results won't be there. It's no one's fault, but your own because you didn't get up and go do something. That's the truckload of truth about writing. If you don't get up and write it out, it won't happen.
The nice thing is, you don't have to spend an hour or even 30 minutes writing to see results. You can spend 12 minutes a day and you'll see results. That's the beauty of it.
But I imagine the excuses already.
- I don't even have that kind of time to sit down and write.
- I can't write a coherent sentence to save my life.
- And, of course, there is my favorite excuse: Nobody wants to read a story about me, my life is boring.
Let me address these individually.
Excuse #1 - I don't even have that kind of time to sit down and write.
I understand completely what this means to most people. I had a client who was so busy, she barely had time to sleep. She was a nationally known speaker and her time was split between coaching her own clients, facilitating group sessions, building an incredible conference, and maintaining a family. She said the same thing. “I don’t have the time to write.” As I worked with her, I realized she had time while she was driving and most of her inspiration happened while driving to meetings and between meetings. But, a person can't write while driving. It's worse than texting while driving. The pen gets in the way of the steering wheel and those stupid cars around you need attention. It's very distracting. So, I suggested she record her chapters. If you can sing in the car, you can definitely talk in the car. She set up her phone to record and while she drove she would talk into it, recording her chapters. Transcribing isn't too expensive, once you've got the audio. So, she did it and most of her chapters were recorded on audio and transcribed. You might know her. She published her first book last year. We found a solution to give her the time to write. It was perfect for her lifestyle. So, if you can't find the time write, try recording your chapters.
Excuse #2 - I can't write a coherent sentence to save my life.
This one gets my goat. Not because it's an excuse, but because it's a lame excuse not to write. In the current social media environment, there aren't many people who can put a sentence together in a cogent manner, including me. All you have to do is go to Facebook or Twitter to see the products of horrible sentence structure. That's why editors are in such high demand. Professional writers may have a bit of an edge because they make words their business. That's also why people hire professionals to ghostwrite. But the truth is, the first draft is NEVER and I mean NEVER perfect. Most of the sentences are messy and gross.
That. Is. Okay.
Again, I'll reference working out. When you first start to work out, it's terrible. Your body screams and protests. Sometimes, you may even have to get a workout partner or a coach to help you understand the routines. At the very least, you probably look on YouTube to watch someone else doing it. You learn by trial and error. The key to that is learning by trial and error. Just write it. I don't care if it's the worst piece of writing you've ever put to paper. I don't care if you want to scrunch it up into a teeny, tiny ball and spitball it at the computer screen. Just write it. Because eventually, what you write is going to be better. Like working out, you're going to see some amazing results. If you still aren't convinced to write it yourself, then hire a ghostwriter. Unlike working out, writing can be done by someone else. You still reap the benefits. So, there's that.
Excuse #3 - Nobody wants to read a story about me. My life is boring.
Okay, I'm going to do my best not to shake my head at this. I've yet to meet anyone who has had a boring life. They come to me thinking their life is boring. By the time we finish, they truly understand how incredibly amazing and event filled their life has been. We get stuck in this idea that because we lived it, everyone else has a much more exciting life. While sometimes, that may be true, our lives are just as event filled. We have memories that are unique to only us. We felt them. We reacted in a certain way. Because of that, our lives took a turn. Whether that turn was good or bad, depended on what we chose. But it was eventful and unique only to us. I've said to myself many times, "Well, I didn't climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I have a boring life." Then I start telling stories about sliding off a barn roof when I was a child and swinging from a rope that could have seriously maimed, if not killed, my brother. In fact, I almost killed my brother numerous times during our youth. My point is, an amazing things happens when I tell my story. People say, "Wow, you had an eventful life!" I always cringe because to me, it was boring. That's exactly why I found adventures with my brother. Because, the majority of the time, we were bored. I know there are time in your life when you felt bored. Did you do something you wouldn't normally do? I would hazard to say that most people have lived quite a unique life. Because it's theirs and only theirs. No one else on this earth, past or present, lived the life you have lived. The life you are living right now. That's why I want to shake my head, because your life ISN'T boring. There are people in this world who NEED to read your story. Maybe so they don't feel alone because something similar happened to them. They don't have any idea how to deal with it. But you went through it. Because you chose to write it down and they read it, now they have another choice to make.
The truth is…
I honestly believe it's our duty to write our stories. From the beginning of the human race, we've striven to be heard. To have immortality by putting a hand-print on a rock. Right now, we have so many ways to leave our legacy. But the only true way, that has been tested by time, is writing. Go ask the author of Gilgamesh or the Brothers Grimm. The biggest selling book of all time, The Bible, was written. No one knew it would last this long. No one knew we would be making movies about fairy-tales written hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. The written word is the closest to immortality we humans have ever gotten. I believe we all deserve this kind of immortality. Your story matters. My story matters. Together, our stories can change the world.
Ghostwriter & Owner
12 Minutes A Day, Writing for the Non-Writer