Reasons Writers Don’t Write: Top Ten

Sorry that I haven’t really written as much as I usually do. The problem is that I have had way too much to do lately. Really, there has been laundry, dishes… I am sure I will think of some more stuff here in just a minute or two. Actually I should probably stop writing and just go think of some reasons why I shouldn’t be writing now.

Maybe I should just write a story for all of us writers who enjoy writing…unless we just don’t feel like doing it, in which case it is about as enjoyable as having a root-canal while listening to Gilbert Gottfried singing the ABC song while drunk. Actually, the drunk part might make that a little more enjoyable.

Why is it that sometimes writing is so easy and fun while other times it is really hard and painful? Since I am an expert at answering my own questions, I think it is because there are times when writing requires discipline; and as any good five-year-old knows, discipline is one of the worst 10-letter words ever invented.

As I pondered this predicament I realized that this problem should have its own top-ten list, so here it goes:

Reasons Writers Don’t Write: Top Ten

10. Too much to do – It is an unfortunate circumstance, but there are just too many things that vie for our attention in this society. Other than the normal daily chores all of us must maintain, we also have teeth to floss, noses to blow, windows to look out of, etc.

9. Not enough material – Although I am sure there are some genius’ who might be able to write a sonnet about the smell of the garbage disposal, many of us do not get inspiration from such small things. We need something like a bad breakup or a crazy, vivid dream to come up with an idea for something to write.

8. Pets – Before all you PETA psycho’s start freaking out, I classify children and spouses in this category as well. When you are taking care of any sort of animal (even the human breed), it is hard to justify sitting down to write a thought-provoking novel or a sappy poem.

7. Games – Have you ever stopped to wonder how much different the world would be if we didn’t have cellphone/computer/card games. I don’t care how much you think you are not affected by these time-wasters, even if you don’t play them yourself, odds are someone close to you does play them and you are inevitably sucked into the drama of having a loved one who desperately needs rehab. Who can write with so much on your mind?

6. Messes – There is something about a mess that depending on your personality either inspires you to spend your time cleaning it, or makes you feel too much chaos/embarrassment/pride/gluttony/joy/insert feeling here _______________; to actually get work done.

5. Perfectionism – Although I don’t really know how much this excuse applies to me, there are some people who either can not or will not write, work, or anything else because they are consumed by thoughts of how they haven’t quite figured out the perfect story, topic, ending, etc.

4. No pencil sharpener – Oh, people don’t use those anymore? They all just type? Duh? No reason to get snotty…I am just trying to think of some excuses so you don’t have to. Excuse me!

3. Food – This is pretty much a reason why not to do anything, except maybe cook…well, actually I could probably use food as an excuse not to cook too. Food – the best/worst thing on the planet.

2. Other people – Sometimes people have already written what you wanted to. Sometimes people just ring the doorbell. Sometimes people give you severe childhood complexes which make it impossible to tie your shoes or write a book. Sometimes people just end up being a good excuse for why you don’t get something done.

1. Jello – How on earth could Jello make it impossible to write? Well, I don’t know, but you might as well just say “thanks” for me giving you something to write about. I can see the headline now “The Hidden Danger of Jello” or maybe “Journey to the Center of Jello”…you will think of something. Good luck!

25 thoughts on “Reasons Writers Don’t Write: Top Ten

  1. I don’t write because my thumbs hurt and I’m mostly inspired when I’m supposed to be doing something else like cheering on my son’s football team or sleeping. Mostly everything I could write about gets sardonic blog entries instead of a genuine writing nod.

    • So sad…I guess all of us writers who don’t actually write anything sell-able should get together and compile a blog-based book about the joys and pains of writing about not writing. 😉 I love your blog name by the way.

        • That is funny. I found a notebook the other day with about 5 sentences of something that would probably be a great novel if I could just stay with it. I keep hoping some magazine editor notices my blog and likes it enough to hire me. Of course then I probably would write even less because of all the pressure. It’s a losing battle I think.

    • Thanks! We should really all get together and write a sentence or two and just mash them all up to form a book. At least that way we could make a little money without having to do the dirty work of consistent writing.

  2. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an old Seinfeld episode of the show about nothing. I really feel sometimes I wring something out of pretty much nothing and then find another writer that’s done the same, but better! (Can you hear me graysonjack?)

    • You are not alone. Some of my favorite posts have been ones I just “started out of nothing”. Too bad we can’t have sitcoms out of all our funny nothingness…we’d all be rich. 🙂

  3. Pingback: How to Write and Sell Children’s Picture Books |

    • You laughing is good enough for me too! Who cares if I never write a novel. Making people laugh is better than fame and riches (at least until the bills come in). 😉

  4. No. 1 reason I’m not writing right now – because i’m too busy laughing at blogs like yours 🙂 Seriously though, quit getting distracted by pencil sharpeners and keep inspiring. I have a daughter with cp, scoliosis, heart disease and failure to thrive (she hates to eat, unless it’s chocolate), and she’s got the best sense of humor out of all of us. Have you had the botox shots yet? She’s had a couple of treatments. They’re no fun, but they seem to work.

    • I haven’t had the Botox shots yet, but hopefully I will soon. I got a leg splint that stretches the joint out, and I think that helps, but the Botox would be great. Reading other people’s blogs can be quite a time waster for me too. There are just way too many good writers out there. Reading and writing blogs really is so enjoyable though, so I don’t think I’ll stop any time soon.

  5. On his blog “Write or Die,” Dr. Wicked developed a web application that “encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing.” In the sidebar widget, you give yourself a word count goal and a time frame, and once you start, if you start to lag or get distracted, there are consequences…

    (from his site)
    … I want to write and finish a book because I want to be published and make a living as a writer. That goal is a long way away so I often find it difficult to sit down to the task of writing.

    Conversely, I’m in a creative writing class for which I manage to consistently write and finish projects (albeit at the last minute). I therefore draw the conclusion:

    A tangible consequence is more effective than an intangible reward.

    No matter how busy we are or how tempting mine sweeper is, most of us have at least half an hour to pound out a thousand words, but it’s the ‘actually doing it’ part that gets me, especially since I fall into the perfectionist trap quite often. But when I have to write or suffer the consequences, I can blame Dr. Wicked when it’s not perfect. Then I realize, “hey, I have 3-4 pages of material here, now all I have to do is turn it into something readable (or at least extract a few ideas).” Having that much done is a much better feeling than “Damn, I should write. I should want to write. I think I’ll do the dishes.”

    So I’m totally recommending as a fun and effective way for us procrastinators to get our asses in gear.

    • Sounds brilliant, and thanks for the tip. I will check out the site. Part of the problem I am starting to realize is that I think too much…about what to write, what to do, what has already been written, how the bills are looking, etc. Prioritizing is definitely a downfall, but I really like that final quote “A tangible consequence is more effective than an intangible reward.” I need to write that down and put it all over my house…well, maybe later…;)

  6. I used to not spend much time writing because I was reading… now I’m aiming for a better balance. Not sure I’m there yet………..

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