Musing on Excuses

I want to be a writer.

Already that notion comes with a world of context. Sometimes positive. Otherwise, negative. It’s a career path that excites me in that I become my own boss. I’m neurotic enough to harp on my failures that I’m sort of already my own boss, so why not get paid for it?

Thing is, my brain starts doing loopdy-loops to justify why I shouldn’t. Why I should just put my blinders back on, stick to some easy path, and make everyone happy. Because there are people out there who want me to go to college for a ‘respectable degree’ or to simply go ‘to have that important piece of paper’.

I start to think that without that degree, I’m worthless as a writer.

And you know what? Being a writer who has studied writing for four years to get a bachelors degree obviously has a great resource to pull from but it is not required. By the words of many writers, each of which either have or do not have a degree, will acknowledge the fact that on the whole, no agent or publisher has asked them to produce this mystical and expensive piece of paper.

Other people warn me of the risks. They don’t want to see me crash and burn and wind up penniless in the gutter whispering sweet nothings to a derelict shopping cart.

Hell, I don’t want to see that happen.

I begin to dwell on the risk of failure, the sting of someone not liking my work. At the end of a day where I haven’t written, I can name at least four little demons I’ve given brain-side real estate to that keep me from it. Laziness, lack of security, writer’s block, and time or any other random and often easy excuses to blame.

In the end, it’s my fault. And I need to fix it.

Thankfully, I follow a couple brilliant writers who have some insight on all this jargon:

John Scalzi expresses his concern regarding the idiom ‘Writers don’t write to make money‘. He claims the notion, when accepted as true, already puts a writer half-way to not making it (that’s ME then). He writes to get rich (as well as enjoy the awesome roller-coaster life that is writing) and he’s done that fairly well.

Chuck Wendig exorcises the notion of Writer’s Block by insisting it doesn’t exist; that it’s another problem you’ve given a dumb and uselessly romantic name. If you name it to make it sound like our mystic Muse turning the spigot off on our inspiration, then you won’t find out what it really is. (fear of failure is my big one!)

He also has an amazing post that I read every now and again to kick myself in the ass over not getting things done. These 25 Lies Writers Tell are a perfect way to keep me sedentary unless I ignore them.

The more and more I read these and the more I write, the more I feel that my actions have meaning. I rekindle those coals in my heart regarding my own life. I do my own thing. Walk my own course. The idea of creating for money once again sounds like what I want to do. It sounds terrifying like building my parachute after the jump…and exciting because of it. I’m not about to quit my day-job…but the more I write, the more I fail, the more I try only means I’ll succeed more later. Eventually my day-job will get in the way. I’ll reach the point of “Hey, I could really start making this whole writer thing work if it weren’t for that 80 hour labor sink of mine”

Today is not that day.

Tomorrow’s probably not that day either.

But when that day comes it will be because I stopped listening to what scares me, stopped panicking, and stopped becoming paralyzed with the fear of meeting life head-on.

Because I’m a writer and I am done fucking around.


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