Whether you call them distractions, reasons or excuses there are so many things I can come up that ‘stop’ me from writing including:
- I’m too busy – there is always other things to be done and when you’ve finished doing them you’re too tired to do anything else
- I’m doing things for other people – it could be sewing son’s jeans, taking the dog for a walk, ringing a friend in need
- I have to work – being self employed time is precious and needs to be filled with things I get paid for
- I need to switch off and relax – I can waste hours watching TV, going online, tweeting or reading the newspaper.
Stephanie Butland who ran the writing workshop last week came up with a great point that, whatever the excuse, we really are making choices. If I do something else instead of writing, I am choosing to do that and not write. It’s a great way of looking at it – I always have a choice. So the next time those excuses crop up, I will instead think I am actually either choosing to write or choosing to do something else instead. It’s up to me.
Of course it’s not just me, or writers, or people not writing who do this! Excuses are made by everyone the world over, in all kind of situations, they can be obvious, elaborate, amusing. These are some of my favourites:
- My Aunty Nan, then in her seventies, used to tell my young son that she couldn’t dance, run or ride his scooter because she had ‘a bone in her leg’. It took a good while for him to figure that one out.
- Delays on trains are a classic of course, one I heard recently was that the train couldn’t start until the driver had found a ‘button’ – not sure if he’d lost one off his jacket or was working out what to press on the dashboard.
- Sport is another area where excuses seem to crop up all the time, particularly in football – instead of saying we weren’t good enough to win the blame is on the balls being too bouncy or the wrong kind of grass on the pitch.
- Politicians of all colours have for decades been very adept at carefully crafting excuses. Some of the best from MPs involved in the recent expenses scandal include:
- Bill Wiggin "I think people need to realise we are but human"
- Ben Chapman "It is clear that I was mislead by the fees office into the arrangement in question"
- Jack Straw “I was incredibly busy during that period - that is not an excuse, it is just an explanation.”
So... what’s your excuse?