To excuse or not to excuse, that is the question.
I’m sure if you have followed this blog closely you’ll notice the major gap in between this post and my last. And trust me, I’ve built up a huge list of excuses that justify why I have not been as active on the blog as I should have been. I could spend the next thousand words telling you about how hard it is to write during the holiday season. How difficult it is to juggle work and writing. How incredibly exhausting but fulfilling fatherhood has been. How I forgot my login information and couldn’t access my account.
While that would be a great post and I’m sure you all would love to hear about my baby, this is supposed to be a writing blog mixed in with some of that other stuff. So, I’ll post this picture and move on with the topic of today’s post: excuses.
There is a wonderful podcast all aspiring writers and lovers of narrative fiction should check out. It is called Writing Excuses. Brandon Sanderson and a few of his writing colleagues created it a few years ago. The podcast features over 13 seasons of narrative advice given by the pros–those that have been successful with their writing for years now. Character development, plotting advice, writing methodology, and general discussion on the tools writers use to create captivating stories. If you have not checked that out, I encourage you to do so. Their advice is phenomenal.
I bring the podcast up because at the end of each show, they tell the audience that we have no more excuses and need to get to writing. No matter how many times I finish an episode knowing what they are going to say at the end, I always feel obligated to write something immediately after.
That got me thinking, what are my excuses for writing? Instead of writing all the excuses about why I was not writing consistently, I’m going to write the excuses for why I should be writing.
- The Fun
This is the only excuse I need. I could wipe the rest of the list, but if I still enjoyed writing–creating stories that can move people– I wouldn’t need any other excuse.
- The “What if…”
I like to play the “What if” game much too frequently. What if they don’t like what I have to write? What if my characters are boring? What if they hate my story? All these scenarios would be disappointing, but there is one that is far more devastating: what if I never try? The proof is in the pudding, and if I never make the pudding I’ll never know.
- The Possibilities
You might think this belongs with the fun (it does, but it is a big enough reason that I thought I should share it). Writing fantasy is not the same as writing in other genres. Although all genres have their own difficulties, fantasy is unique in that it has a blank slate within the blank slate; a world that has yet to be created in which a story must occur that has yet to be told. Mankind can’t fully comprehend infinity, but if writing fantasy doesn’t describe “endless possibilities,” I don’t know what does (a little voice in my head is shouting, “Sci-fi!” I’m simply choosing to ignore that for relevancy purposes, though feel free to lump that in with fantasy as well. After all, isn’t space as infinite as it gets?).
- The Characters
If I don’t write about the people in my head, no one else will. By not giving them a voice, I’m murdering them before they’ve gotten a chance to plead their case to the world. Of course, the same thing occurs if I don’t share them with the world either. I’m working on that, but for now it is good enough that I give breathe life into them on digital paper.
- My Wife
My wife is the rational one when my brain wants to find excuses not to write. Some time ago, I asked her to remind me to write every night. She would tell me as forcefully as she dared that I needed to sit my butt in the chair and get something written. Telling her no is much harder than telling that to myself. She has a power over me akin to knowing my true name. I’d wager she actually does know it. Ursula Le Guin would be proud.
Those are just a few of the excuses I have for writing. Feel free to tell me any of your reasons for writing, or doing whatever it is you love doing, below.
Also as a little side note, I’m considering posting some of my stories to the blog. A short story or two if I can muster the courage to do so; the start of a series if I feel like I can dedicate myself to it. Subscribe if you’re interested in staying up to date, check in now and then if you’re not.