Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Writer Excuses: Why I'm In Favor Of The 'But I Was Just' Syndrome

Reminder: Join me over @ Operation Awesome's Query Chat with Elana Johnson this Thursday @ 9pm!! 

Now for today's post.

If you write, you know excuses are awesome. Especially when you're on a deadline. 

Some people like to crack the whip on writers who procrastinate. 'Don't leave it for later,' the whip bearer says. 'Just keep writing.'

To that, I say screw it. Excuses can work for the best, you know. 

But the key in using an excuse is to find the right one

Take me, for example. I tend to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'you're going to write today.' Out of the corner of my eye, this face flashes on the TV screen:

Or this one:

Or this one:

And I immediately say, 'OMGhessofreakinghot!!!!!!'

Then I say, 'excuse! I have an excuse!'

Then I check my word count, kick myself and say, 'nope. Not a good enough excuse, Amparo. You should be ashamed of yourself. Now wipe that drool off and get to work!'

Unfortunately, good excuses don't have anything to do with hot men. *whimpers* They do, however, have something to do with how you feel. About yourself as a writer in X genre. About the direction your manuscript is taking. About your character's voice. 

To me, anything writing related is a good excuse to stand aside. 

If you keep pushing through the frustration, it will most likely reflect on your manuscript. Remember when Stephenie Meyer got pissed because someone leaked chapters of MIDNIGHT SUN on the Internet, and said if she were to keep writing the story, all the Cullens would've been murdered by James?

Yeah. That's what I mean.

So instead of turning a homicidal vampire on your characters, take a break to think things through. Your story will thank you for it in the end.

Quick quiz, everyone: which excuse is better?

'But I was just checking if Ian's/Channing's/Alexander's abs were still there!'


'But I was just brainstorming ways to stop that homicidal vampire from killing the Cullens!'

Think carefully. You will be graded for this! :D


  1. LOL, great post. I have a few guys that would distract me as well, so I try to ignore the TV and write in my office. But I'm definitely tempted to cut the TV on. :)

  2. Well I do think both excuses have a valid point. hee hee.

    I do love a good bit of procrastination though. :)

  3. Erm... the abs excuse wins it for me by a hairsbreadth!! So D+++++ but A- for procrastination! LOL!

    Take care

  4. Save the Cullens! Most lovable vampires ever! Hee hee. Great post on when it's ok to take a writing break. My excuses are either cute little boys who desperately need lunch or, my other favorite, "I'm trying to work out my MC's voice."

  5. Okay, if you throw Alex and his abs into the mix, I'm going to pick them every time. Sorry, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do :D

    I am QUEEN of procrastination. Occasionally I will have a lame excuse even I know is bad, but most of the time my excuses are pretty good. Trolling the internet (aka research), reading an awesome book (aka research), watching movies (aka research) :D watching my shows NOW because I need to pay attention to my kids when they get home (aka responsible parenting/mother of the year award), reading blogs all day (aka social networking)....I've got lots more :D

  6. LOL Abs win every time, don't they? ;)

  7. Awesome. #2. We all must do our part to protect the vegetarian Cullens.

  8. I was just checking if Ian's abs were still there! It was only for a moment, I swear.

    Great post!

  9. Ha, they may not be a valid excuse but I sure appreciate you sharing the pics. :) Great post and valid point.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  10. I ignore my whip bearer all the time.

  11. Yessss!! Hot man abs trump legit excuses :D

    *slaps self*

    Everone, get back to work!!!