5 Reasons For Not Writing That Novel

I hear people all the time express a deep desire to write a book. It happened just the other day. “I always wanted to write,” an older woman said to me. Had I not just met her I might have asked, “Well, what’s stopping you?”

Often when someone learns that I’m an author it brings their own unfulfilled dreams of writing to the foreground. It seems that many people would like to write, they just don’t get around to it. Really, it makes me a little sad to know this. Whenever possible, we should try to pursue the dreams we carry in our hearts. Have you ever stopped to consider there is a reason those dreams are there?

Some dreams are fleeting fancies, as wistful as pink cotton candy — “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to write a book?” These dreams don’t really count because they really don’t come from the heart. They come from an idea that might have popped into our heads one day as we stood in the bookstore musing over the bestseller’s list thinking it would be super cool to see our name there. I’ve known people who thought they’d be able to whip up a story, no problem, but ended up discouraged after their first few tries.

Other dreams are of the niggling kind, they stick to us like grease, and no matter what they never go away. If we’re lucky we may be able to keep them at bay for a time, by allowing life’s distractions to keep us from taking action, because one of the scariest things in the world to do is to follow our dreams. I mean, what if we fall flat on our faces? Maybe even scarier—What if we succeed?

So here we go…..5 Reasons For Not Writing That Novel

  1. I’ll start writing that novel when he kids are a bit older— A facebook buddy cited this one awhile back. It sounds like a good excuse. It’s up there with “the house won’t be messy as soon as the kids move out.” Hmmm, I believed that illusion for years, but now that the kids have moved that theory’s been shot to pieces. When my kids were small I knew that I had to have something in my life for me, something that defined me in some other way other than a mommy. Not everyone feels this way and I get that. But remember when those kids finally do move out you may end up asking yourself what am I going to do now? If you’re already writing, for whatever time you can allow, you won’t be asking that question. The answer will already be there.

  1. I’ll start writing that novel once I retire…Many people say this, but here’s my theory, if we couldn’t find the time to start writing in the first 65 years of our lives it’s unlikely we’ll find oodles of time once we retire. Retired people are some of the busiest people I know. They just never slow down. They’re off vacationing and camping and having a grand old time.

  1. I’ll start writing that novel when I have the money to take a writing course right now I’m barely making ends meet. Okay, I get the money thing. Years ago when we were first married there was barely enough money to pay the bills let alone dare to dream about spending money on something so frivolous. Here’s the thing… While writing courses are wonderful, not everyone has access to them. Here’s the other thing…You don’t need a writing course to get started. Think of all the great writers out there who wrote their books during a time when writing courses did not exist. It’s not impossible.

  1. I’ll write that novel as soon I broaden my vocabulary because we all know that writers need to know the meaning of every word especially those twelve letter ones. When I first started writing I thought I had to wow everyone with my use of the English language—Wrong. Writing that is simple and easy to understand will resonate with many readers, your storytelling ability is far more important than twelve letter words. Learn to tell a good story.

  1. I’ll start writing that novel as soon as I’ve experienced more of life  so that I will have plenty to write about. Well, guess what? My two-year-old granddaughter is starting to tell bunny stories. They may only be a paragraph long, but she’s only two. Now if a two year old can come up with something, I’m willing to bet you’re selling yourself short if you think you need more life experience. People mistakenly believe that in order to write you have to have travelled and experienced the world, but some of the loveliest stories I’ve ever read were based on very simple themes.

There you have 5 reasons why would-be writers are not out there writing. A few of them worked for me in the past until I finally determined that nothing would stop me. The truth is there will always be things out there that will take up our time, but if you’re really meant to be doing something (and it doesn’t just have to be writing) by letting your dream fizzle away you’re not being true to the person that counts the most.The happiest people I know are the ones who work toward making their dreams come true. Be that person!

What reason do you have for not writing that novel? 

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  1. Before I finally sat down to write (and finish) my novel, I remember hearing the phrase, “You’re not a good enough writer, yet.” float around in my head. It took a long time stop listening to that voice.

    • Those words hold many of us back, C.B. Sadly we never seem to be able to define what “good enough ” is. I’m glad you stopped listening to that negative voice. :)

  2. None that I can think of now :)

  3. Sounds like many of my own excuses! I start; I just don’t finish! Ok, ok, I’m a quitter!

    • No Susan, I don’t think your a quitter at all. All writers have many starts before we ever make it to the finish line. You’re writing, that counts in my books…;) Pardon the pun!

  4. Perfect! I would like to reblog this refering the readers back to your site of course.

  5. A super post from u, Laura… my only reason is very simple n straightforward… i am not ready yet.

  6. I want to be that person who is working on making her dreams come true. To that end, I’m going to be submitting my poetry to a publisher in July. oh my.

  7. A ‘nailhead’ post, Laura. It’s amazing how many people voice vague dreams as if they could never become reality. I suspect the secret is finding that line between just dreaming and really desiring, and then stepping across it. Wanting something enough to work for it separates a lot of wannabees from achievers… in any field. I’ve pursued most of my realistic dreams, including writing novels. Getting them published is still on the other side of the line, but I’m tiptoe-ing in that direction. :)

    • Carol, I won’t be satsified until I hear that you’ve stopped tiptoe–ing and start making deliberated steps..I’m confident I’m going to read about that anytime now. :)

  8. I put off writing–to get published–for about ten years, then I became a stay-home mom and thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t find something to do. Writing was it. Now, nothing holds me back.

    What do you mean the house won’t be cleaner when the kids move out? Are you trying to scare me? What about all that Lego I step on? Will my feet never get a break? lol

  9. Oh Diane, the Lego will all be gone but the saddest part is knowing that what’s left behind belongs only to us.. No one to blame..lol

  10. Time. Life stuff. My own thinking that if I had time to do it, if I didn’t have my life split in half … but you know what? I just am not keeping up. My own fault. It’s a matter of priorities, isn’t it? That and time management.
    Also, I seem to always be putting something else (some other project or commitment) ahead of what I most want to succeed in, and then my writing just doesn’t get attention.
    Excellent post, Laura.

    • You’re still writing, Lynn, and I think that’s very important. You have a lot on your plate at the moment. Many people who want to write never end up writing a single thing. You’re too hard on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having several irons n the fire. I do have confidence that you’ll write “the end” one day. :) Also it takes time for us to find just what kind of story we are best suited to tell.

  11. karenselliott

     /  June 17, 2012

    I have used all those excuses. Now, I’m finally get around to it, at 54.

    • Hi Karen, I find it exciting to think that you are now writing that novel at 54!!! Congratulations.It’s a big step! Many wonderful writers did not get started until they were in their fifties or older. Age has little to do with it. :)

      Thanks for visiting and for commenting..

  12. Great pep talk, Laura. No time like the present!

  1. Five Reasons for Not Writing That Novel « Darlene Foster's Blog

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