Where to start …

Whether you’re new to writing or have been around the writer’s block a time or two, there comes a time when the flow subsides, divides or dries up. At this point, you feel only a good soaking rain will break the drought, but actually all you need is a cloud on the horizon. And you know what they say about every cloud …

For me the silver lining can come from anywhere, but I do need to take time to look for it. Like many people, I’ve been busy lately. Getting this site up and running, paid writing work, even holidaying, have kept me from writing my novel. It’s so easy to push aside my commitment to creative writing when paid work has a brief, a deadline and quick, positive feedback from clients. It’s good for my budget and good for my ego. And I enjoy it. A lot. In short, these elements make copywriting work far easier for me than creative writing work.

It’s the same for all of us, isn’t it?

Perhaps you’ve got a stressful job. Maybe you’re a new parent. (Maybe you’re an old parent!) I’m sure your house needs a good clean … My personal favourite excuse is my gammy hip – it’s a really strong, physical reason to finish all of my other work quickly and then get out and exercise. But oops, no time for creating.

Recently, though, I’ve thumped that excuse square on the bum, with good results. A few months ago I signed up to receive Sarah Selecky’s daily writing prompts. At the time I was so busy that I watched them drop into my inbox day after day and felt annoyed that I wasn’t dedicating ten minutes (that’s all!) to my creative writing. I think I thought I should be using that ten minutes to write my novel. (It’s true! Can you hear yourself there?)

It wasn’t until the last day of my holidays that I realised I still had an opportunity to change my habits. I plugged into my calendar 15 minutes at the beginning of each workday just for responding to the daily writing prompts. No matter what.

Already, my thoughts about writing are lighter, the ideas are flowing, and my creative writing confidence is returning. I wish I could say these daily prompts were my idea! But at least I’m smart enough to know a good thing when I see it.

What’s your favourite excuse?

I’d love to hear about it. Maybe you have a whole raft of them. Often they all visit at once. But when they do, politely tell them to wait their turn.

Take two minutes right now to start your new writing life. Sign up to Sarah Selecky’s writing prompts. Or tap into and share here your own tools for keeping your writing life real and regular, not to mention fun …

Want a kickstart, but don’t know where to find it? Find it here.

  • Alicia
    4 years ago - Reply

    Oh Ann. How long have you got for all my excuses???? Need to earn money from paying job (check). Paying clients more important than own writing (check). Kids need attention (check). Partner needs attention (check). Sick family members (check) Volunteering for worthy / interesting causes (check). Clean house / bathroom / carpet / dogs / inside kitchen cabinets (check check check & check). Want to watch Paul Keating series on ABC TV tonight (C’mon, that is a GREAT excuse).

    Here’s how I deal with it. My best writing comes when I adapt – I write about others (only interesting people though, that I like) – so they want to see it, I have to finish it, and I get it done. Mostly. Not a book. But better than nothing.

    Signed up for those writing tips – might take the 10 minutes a day challenge (hey – that’s a facebook promo RIGHT there for you!).

    • AnnBolch
      4 years ago - Reply

      Thanks Alicia … adapting to our circumstances. Yes. So important … I can feel another blog coming on.

      And yes … Keating was indeed a very fine excuse :-). Especially for lovers of language … it’s not often you hear ‘de rigeur’ used in a sentence these days.

      And thank you Mr Keating for reminding us of this: ‘I always thought the arts were central to a country, central to a society, holding up a mirror to itself, celebrating itself.’


  • Fiona Brand
    4 years ago - Reply

    As always Ann, excellent advice!

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