Three enemies of writing

Writing can be both wonderful and frustrating.

When a story or poem is coming along fine, everything is wonderful. When a novel is turning out the way you want it to, and the words are flowing, life is glorious.

But the writer’s life can also be frustrating. Your family, friends, life and sometimes even the Universe conspire to prevent you from your first love, writing. They can become great burdens, or enormous hindrances to The Creative Life.

But lurking underneath these obvious mountains preventing the next publishing sensation from reaching the shelves of our favourite bookshop are three not-so-subtle enemies of our writing life.

Enemy #1: Procrastination:

I think I could write a PhD thesis paper on this topic.

If I ever get around to it, of course.

Procrastination is Enemy #1 of too many writers. Consider these statements:

  • “I never have any good ideas for stories.”
  • “I’m too tired to write.”
  • “I’ll start that novel – on the weekend.”
  • “I’m too busy at work but I’ll write when I retire.”
  • “My computer has died.”

Don’t let these be your excuses: just do it.

Enemy #2: Lack of Momentum

Momentum – or rather lack of momentum – can kill off a brilliant career in writing before you even get started. And if you do get started, and life gets in the way, lack of momentum can bury the body. It is so hard to get something like a locomotive moving, but once started, it builds its own momentum and before you know it, a runaway train is thundering down the mountains taking all in its path. Starting a train is like starting a story or novel; once it gets moving get out of its way and let it choose its own path. A little bit of writing every day – consistently without fail –  is far better than leaving it for the weekend, or the holidays or retirement.

Enemy #3: Timewasters

Time wasters speak for themselves.

If you are doing something other than writing, no matter how interesting and worthwhile,  there is no way you can reach your writing goals. (You do have writing goals, surely? They can be good motivators and can help keep that momentum going.) Identify your time-wasters and put them in their proper place. Some I grapple with include:

  • Some television programmes.
  • Checking Facebook and Twitter feeds many times a day.
  • Checking my email several times a day.
  • Unexpected visitors.
  • Unexpected phone calls.
  • Computer games.

Time management for writers is essential. Get those time-wasters under control and you will be more productive. (Note to self: take note of what I’ve just written – and apply it!)

Reader responses: in the comments tell me about your Writing Enemies, and how you deal with them. I’d appreciate that.

Good writing.


2 Responses to “Three enemies of writing”

  1. Barb says:

    Dear Trevor,

    You forgot four suit solitaire. Hard to resist its challenge. Think I must remove it from my PC

  2. Trevor says:

    Ssssh. Keep that quiet. I have a similar problem occasionally – but I’m not admitting to that here.