Word Count

Writers Talk About Writing

83 Reasons for Not Writing

Many of our excuses for not writing might sound convincing, if we don't think about them too much. But really, the only person we're hurting is ourselves. Check out this list and see if any of these excuses for not writing are ones you've ever used.
  1. I'm too tired.
  2. My back hurts.
  3. I need to have the extended family over for dinner.
  4. It's too hot to write.
  5. I have tickets to a concert/play tonight.
  6. My fulltime job keeps me too busy.
  7. My boss needs a big report done by Friday.
  8. My volunteer job takes up too much time.
  9. I'm too hungry.
  10. No one helps me with the housework.
  11. I have to look after a sick family member.
  12. I keep getting interrupted by other people.
  13. It's too noisy.
  14. My mind goes blank whenever I sit in front of the computer.
  15. I have too many social engagements.
  16. I don't know what to write about.
  17. I don't have enough big blocks of time for writing.
  18. I need to call my mom back.
  19. I don't feel like writing.
  20. I haven't checked Facebook in the last 30 minutes.
  21. I'm expecting an important email and I need to know if it's arrived.
  22. I haven't finished the research yet.
  23. My computer is frozen.
  24. I had too much to drink last night.
  25. My phone rings too often.
  26. I can't concentrate.
  27. I have allergies.
  28. My desk is messy.
  29. I had to take in the drycleaning.
  30. Who am I to write about this?
  31. I kept meaning to do it but other things kept getting in the way.
  32. I'm too busy looking for an agent.
  33. I'm trying to find the writer's guidelines.
  34. My eyes hurt.
  35. My grammar is bad.
  36. No one cares what I think.
  37. I'm too busy reading books about writing.
  38. I'm afraid that what I write won't be any good.
  39. I have the flu.
  40. I had a bad sleep last night.
  41. My car broke down.
  42. My boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse and I had a big fight.
  43. I have to take my cat/dog to the vet.
  44. I'm looking for my lunch receipt otherwise I won't get reimbursed.
  45. My income tax is late and I have to finish it.
  46. The playoffs for my favourite team are on TV today and I NEED to watch them.
  47. My writing will never get published anyway, so what does it matter?
  48. The air conditioning makes my office too cold.
  49. I need to help my child with some homework.
  50. I have other work to do.
  51. I need to finish this computer game, first.
  52. It's my birthday.
  53. I don't know enough about this subject.
  54. I'm too stressed.
  55. I have to clean the house.
  56. I have to clean the garage.
  57. All the good ideas have been taken.
  58. It's too late to write.
  59. I have plenty of time to write; I can do it later.
  60. I need more time to relax.
  61. I can't write under pressure.
  62. I can't write without a deadline.
  63. I haven't been inspired yet.
  64. There's a plumber/electrician in the house and I need to be ready to talk to him.
  65. I'm too depressed.
  66. I need to post some more tweets.
  67. I don't have enough coffee.
  68. No one will understand me.
  69. I need to print out new auto insurance cards.
  70. My parents didn't encourage me to be creative enough when I was young.
  71. It takes too long to learn how to write well.
  72. I don't like criticism.
  73. I don't have anything to say.
  74. My chair is uncomfortable.
  75. Most writers get their work rejected by publishers anyway.
  76. I'll do it when I have more time.
  77. So many writers are depressed!
  78. The vast majority of writers get nothing more than rejection letters.
  79. I don't like competition.
  80. I'm shy. I don't want people to know what I'm really thinking.
  81. I don't like being criticized.
  82. I like editing but I HATE writing the first draft.
  83. I like writing a first draft but I don't want to get started because I HATE editing.

Have you ever used any of these 83 excuses? If so, understand that the very best time to write is usually first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up. Why?

  1. Your brain won't be awake enough to feel fear or process excuses.
  2. You won't be disturbed by phone calls and the demands of others.
  3. You'll start your day by achieving something meaningful, which will make the rest of your day better.
  4. You'll be building a habit, which is far more sustainable and much stronger than willpower.

What are your very best excuses for not writing? Amuse us all.


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A former daily newspaper editor, Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing and editing coach and the author of 8½ Steps to Writing Faster, Better. She offers a free weekly newsletter on her website Publication Coach. Click here to read more articles by Daphne Gray-Grant.

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Comments from our users:

Friday July 11th, 4:09 PM
Comment by: catwalker (Ottawa Canada)
My favourite excuse is already on this list. It is #22: I haven't finished the research yet. Of course, there is always more research to do, especially now that we have the Internet.
Friday July 11th, 4:28 PM
Comment by: Graeme Roberts (Pittsford, NY)
You skewered us like steak and onions on a shish kebab, Daphne! Excuse 40 has done great service for me.
Saturday July 12th, 9:27 PM
Comment by: Kimberley A.
I think I've used at least 80 percent of the listed excuses. The best thing (I think) I've ever written was a five page story/admission on how I had really nothing to write. I wrote it at four in the morning after laying awake worrying about everything since two-thirty. I learned a lot about myself writing before I'd even had coffee.
Sunday July 13th, 1:11 PM
Comment by: Daphne Gray-Grant (Vancouver Canada)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
Right now I'm going with #4, it's too hot to write. Vancouver, where I live, is going through a heat wave right now. The blue sky is starting to feel relentless to me rather than delightful. And my office is in the top of our house, a good 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the place.

Anyway, I did get up early this morning (6:30) and wrote for 30 minutes before it became too hot. It's important to figure out ways AROUND our excuses!

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