“No Excuses!”

It makes the rounds of writing-related blogs every now and then, and NaNo season seems to be one of the preferred times for bloggers to share the concept for anyone who somehow hasn’t been informed yet:

There is no excuse for not writing every single day!

‘It doesn’t matter what is happening in your life,’ we are told.  ‘If you want to call yourself a Real Writer, you had better learn to set aside a time every day (the same time, if you’re really serious about it) for nothing but writing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re ill; that’s an excuse, and there are no excuses.  Having pneumonia doesn’t keep your hands from working, does it?’

On some days, my hands really won’t work properly.  I have fibromyalgia (yes, I’ve heard it before: ‘men can’t get fibro because eighty percent of the people diagnosed with it are women’), and sometimes I get a severe flare-up.  If I can’t pick up an empty coffee mug or a paperback book, I can’t spend even half an hour typing.  If my nerves are malfunctioning so much that petting my cat hurts, I should not be trying to tap my fingers against hard plastic squares.  On those days, I do other things that are necessary for writing, such as reading up on topics that relate to what I’m writing about.  This isn’t writing, however, so according to the “no excuses!” school of thought, I’m still being a lazy bastard and ought to just give up, stop pretending to be a writer and go get a job at Walmart (because yeah, that’s gonna happen — not.   I can’t walk without a cane sometimes, and I look too healthy to be hired as their token ‘real disabled person — see how charitable we are to have hired this guy,’ but of course I can stock shelves or work a register when I can’t type due to pain…).

True story: My clone is only now recovering from having non-infectious pneumonia (not caused by a germ, but his lungs filled up with fluid anyway), and when a doctor checked his blood oxygen level, it was dipping to only eighty-four percent when he exhaled.  Less oxygen to the brain means less ability to think.  He was not capable of writing while he was sick; he was barely capable of speaking.  I don’t know about you, but I consider that a pretty good reason not to be writing.

I’m gonna share a hypothesis with you:  Some people truly believe every writer must writer every day, but some… Some are only telling us this because they want to ‘sabotage the competition’ (which is ridiculous, but whatever).  If they can convince a fellow writer that not writing every single day on a set schedule means that person is not a Real Writer and ought to give up entirely, that’s one more ‘rival’ out of the way.

My own belief on what makes for good writing practice is this:  Do whatever works for you.  If you don’t know what that is, try a few different approaches to figure it out.  If you do know what works best for you, keep doing it.  Ignore those other people, the ones who want to tell you the ‘only way’ to be a writer.  They don’t live in your life or in your head, so they have no idea how you think and how you create.

(Today I’m in just enough pain to make me cranky and irritated with people who tell me that being in pain means I’m lazy and stupid and bad.  There are several reasons why I avoid face-to-face contact with most humans; this is one of them. Get off my lawn!  I will try to post something amusing or at least lighthearted next time.  Or maybe finally get around to that promised post about immortal/unaging characters.  Tomorrow is Tuesday, after all.)



About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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6 Responses to “No Excuses!”

  1. Yeah, lemme tellya about token disabled persons. You gotta be in a wheelchair, if you wanna qualify to be an employer’s poster child. Wheelchairs are sexy. Anything less, is just a “pre-existing condition” that they don’t want making claims that will boost their share of the health insurance premium.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It helps to know I’m not the only one who’s in the kind of pain that can come between me and writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mark says:

    “Do whatever works for you.” – Great advice not only for writing but for life in general.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mei-Mei says:

    As with most things in life, there are many paths to becoming a writer. I agree, there is no one way that works for everyone. But I suspect that is too moderate a view to espouse on the internet ~_^

    One of my favorite writers finds typing painful, and has blogged about her struggles using dictation software (sometimes funny, sometimes just frustrating). She often writes things longhand first, then dictates them. I really don’t envy her process, but I love her books, so I appreciate the effort she goes through.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura L. says:

    A couple of thoughts: I always feel the impostor when I comment on “writer” topics. I am a person who writes, but I don’t consider myself to be a writer. HOWEVER…

    I’m 56 and I’ve experienced a few things in my life. There are people in every profession, every hobby, every everything who like nothing more than to pronounce on the way things Should Be. They know The Truth, and they aren’t afraid to share it (quite the opposite).

    I’m re-reading Steven King’s “On Writing” and he also states that most books on writing are bullshit. (I posted a quote of it somewhere on my blog recently.) I just read another blog post (erm, also mentioned on my blog today…I swear I’m not here for the gratuitous traffic mongering!) where M. Atwood talks about how she does NOT write every day and why. Margaret effing Atwood adamantly states she does not write every day. I doubt she is the only successful “exception” to the “rule.”

    “Seek the company of those looking for the truth; run from those who have found it.” That quote applies to these “you should” type folks. I *do* think there are some general, basic rules about writing or any creative profession but this kind of pedantic nonsense is not one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lisasretro says:

    You are the 20% 🙂
    Write how you want to, fibro gives you a motivation to throw out any rule book that ever existed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sheron says:

    You don’t have to be typing or writing to be working on a book. I do a lot of figuring out characters, plot, dialog, etc. at various times…a lot of them late at night, in the shower, while driving…then when I’m ready, I sit down and write like a fiend.

    “Do whatever works for you” is great advice as long as it isn’t used as a crutch for not doing anything.

    Liked by 1 person

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