#WIPMADNESS Week #2 – Excuses, excuses, excuses!

Summer finally arrived here last week. The temperature yesterday reached 31+ C. (about 90 F.) — nothing comparable to what central Canada and much of the United States are experiencing, but hot enough for me. In last Friday’s post I asked, “How will you combat the distractions and/or inertia that often accompany hot weather holiday time, excursions to the beach, bored out-of-school children, and visiting relatives?”

I offered suggestions to help carve out time for writing from summertime’s unscheduled days. But suggestions are only that… non-compulsory ideas. Unless we act on them they don’t help at all. I think most of us are guilty at times of offering excuses for why we have to be somewhere other than at our desks, especially in the summer.

“Every day, your life bombards you with perfectly legitimate excuses not to get your writing done: sick kids, leaky roofs, roots in desperate need of a touch-up.”  [Claire Cook]

Excuses are our enemy! Excuses will keep us from reaching our goals! DOWN WITH EXCUSES!! Oops… seems I’m a little rabid about this topic. Sorry Wipsters, but no matter how justifiable the reasons are, if we aren’t getting the writing done, we’re letting them bully us out of the one part of publication that should be ours to control.

How did last week go for you? Did you accomplish what you planned or did excuses wreak havoc with your intentions? What are you planning for this week?

WEEK #1 DRAW WINNER
Jaye Robin Brown

I hope Jaye will be able to say that excuses didn’t interfere with her writing last week, but either way, she won our Week #1 draw for her choice of a novel from my summer reading basket. Congratulations Jaye! Please e-mail me at caroljgarvin [at] gmail [dot] com with your title of choice, and a mailing address.

Now that everyone has had a week to contend with July’s schedules, I’m thinking we might need a little extra burst of motivation to face Week #2, so listen up…

Every comment on today’s post will be entered for the Week #2 draw, which is being donated by author, writing coach, freelance editor and workshop instructor extraordinaire Jessica Page Morrell. She has offered to review a synopsis (or query) and the first five pages of a manuscript. How’s that for motivational?

As was the case last week, the remaining names not chosen will be kept for an extra draw at the end of the month, for a copy of Julia Cameron’s book, “THE SOUND OF PAPER”.

Now go toss those excuses in the nearest trash container. Don’t let them bully you out of your writing time!

~  ~  ~

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39 thoughts on “#WIPMADNESS Week #2 – Excuses, excuses, excuses!

  1. L.S. Taylor says:

    I had an amazing week. I fixed two major issues in the story (yay), and one minor one that I *thought* had been major (double yay), and then I also got to copy-edit Candy-Lynne’s 50 pages, the prize she won from March Madness!

    My excuses have been transferred to another part of my life for now. I don’t make excuses for not writing. But exercising? Um, whoops. ;)

  2. Oh boy, I’m a winner! Sending you an e-mail shortly. Thank you Carol.

    Writing is such a love for me that I rarely make excuses for it. It’s the other stuff, like, laundry, dishes, the yard, life outside of my writing room, that I make excuses about. Balance, it’s all about the balance.

    Anyway, I fell off the loony limb and started a brand new project…THAT I LOVE!…. and got in 4.5k this week. My last ms is depressing in places and after living in it for seven months, I needed to shake things up. It’s close enough to finished that I feel okay sending tentative queries.

    My goals this week? Keep on keeping on.

  3. I’m doing the last couple pages on my read through, only about 40 pages left. Work issues have been coming up, trying to balance everything in my life has been difficult. So I have a meeting today to discuss cutting back hours and how my responsibilities will be shifted to all staff.

    It’s an excuse of course, but sometimes you really don’t need to run yourself into the ground. Working almost full time, starting a business and writing a novel are all great but together that’s sure a lot of stress!

    July should be low key, just want to get through these last pages and do marketing, blogging type of stuff.

    • Carol says:

      Real life throws some very legitimate excuses into the mix. You sound like your plate is extremely full! Claire Cook’s article talks about protecting her writing time, but it takes real effort sometimes. Katherine Wagner recently pointed out an article with some excellent suggestions: http://bit.ly/MSquzx

  4. Despite my distracted mind, I got three manuscripts read and critiqued last week and now that I have three sets of feedback on my own MG, I’m ready to do a final revision and send it off to agent lady by the end of the week. Today will be a marathon revision day. Something to keep my mind off the fact that someone looked at the house on Friday and we’re hovering over the phone waiting for an offer that may never come. If it doesn’t, we’re still on track for renting the house out and moving anyway, though it’s not our favorite option.

    Loving this hot weather. Now I must get up for the Monday morning hike in the woods. Favorite time of the week. Congrats, Jaye!

    Carry on, Wipsters! No excuses.

  5. LisaAnn says:

    Wonderful post, and I definitely agree. If we let our distractions guide us, we will never get a single word written!

    My revisions are coming along nicely. We are hoping to start submissions at the end of the summer, so I am trucking along pretty well. Hoping to rewrite about 20 more pages this week. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    • Carol says:

      But you can’t write (or type) with crossed fingers!!! LOL! Still, having a definite submission date in mind is good motivation. Good luck with those twenty pages.

  6. I finally figured out what wasn’t working in my WIP last week and was able to come up with a revised Chapter 5 that my crit group could really get behind. Turns out, though I was writing about sex abuse, I was doing it through the lens of a character with PTSD–who knew?–and so my readers weren’t following her crazy snaps.

    This week, revise chapter 6 and maybe start on 7, but I’m going to give myself space. These revisions are the hardest I’ve ever done.

    • Carol says:

      Good for you, figuring out that problem in Chapter 5. I could use some enlightenment with my ms and use a little of your forward momentum, too. You’re providing inspiration for the rest of us, and I don’t doubt you’ll get at least Chapter 6 done.

  7. I’m being realistic here. Honestly, I am. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to get any writing done this week. My book launches tomorrow, and my launch party is Saturday. I’m *thrilled* at the response it’s already getting, but I definitely will not be able to concentrate when every time I open twitter there’s a new review, or every time I check my email there’s another request for something promotional. And believe me, there’s no such thing as NOT checking Twitter or email. I’m just not that strong of a person. LOL.

    But to he rest of you…Go, go, go!

    I’ll be back on track next week!

  8. Leigh-Ann says:

    I got some great plotting and writing done this week! I feel like I’ve finally nailed down some major plot points and feel much more confident moving forward. Thanks to all my new #wipmadness friends for keeping me motivated! Just plat to keep going this week.

    • Carol says:

      Doesn’t it feel great to get those revelations so you can move on? I’m sure you’ll keep that forward motion going this week. :)

  9. joylene says:

    I’m catching up on a bit of reading. Just read a wonderful article by Keith Pyeatt. Made me cry. Meanwhile, less heat please, and no I’m not complaining, just want someone to turn down God’s heavenly thermostat. Thanks.

    • Carol says:

      If it made you cry it must have been a very well written article.

      I’m glad you’re getting some time to read. Sometimes we get so immersed in our writing we forget how important reading is for us.

      I wouldn’t mind getting the thermostat turned down a bit, too, but am reluctant to say anything negative about the heat… not after the spring we’ve had. ;)

  10. What an awesome prize! Makes me want to flood your comments :)

    WIPmadness is going really well for me so far. I’ve written 2,880 words so far today, and have finished nine chapters of my current book in the last 13 days. (I’m not sure how many words that is, since I keep each chapter in it’s own document. I’m thinking around 35,000?) With luck I’ll bust out this rough draft before September, but I’m wary to make that an official goal!

    Thanks so much for hosting, and much luck on the writing journey to everyone!

    • Carol says:

      Flood away, Charlie. The wipmadness effort is all about supporting and encouraging each other toward our various goals. Each comment will go into the draw. You’re really on a roll! Keep writing at that rate and you’ll be finished before the summer is over.

      I’m curious why you chose to keep each chapter in a separate document. When will you be putting them all together?

  11. baccelliak says:

    I read for Month9bks and was busy reading first chapters. I think this is great as I learn so much on what’s out there. Plus I did go over some final edit chapters and continued to tackle this new beginning to my sekrit project.

    On excuses, I’m a Pro until I run into my YA author friend Marlene Perez. This chica has adorable preschool twins and still is able to meet deadlines and get books out. She told me that you need to seize opportunities that come your way. Also she takes a notebook and seizes whatever time she gets to write.

    My goals this week include getting this new beginning done so I can send it off to the fab Joyce Sweeney. I need to move on so I can meet my goal of finishing this round of revisions in time for the Fall and get some Beta readers so I can start querying again.

    And your prize this week sounds awesome! I’d love to win! So I’ll be getting my butt in gear and writing!

    • Carol says:

      You have lots of great goals urging you forward, and your friend, Marlene, is obviously setting a good example. Good luck this week getting that beginning completed.

  12. This is the deal, Carol … I sort of treat excuses like I do housework. I make long lists of things that must be done around the house then I happily ignore them. I get up each day and tell myself I don’t want to swim, haven’t got the time to edit another twenty pages and then thankfully, I ignore myself, so for a swim and dive into my pages. I guess I ignore myself the way I used to ignore my mom or my ex husband. What can I say … it works for me !

    Love your drawing ideas :)

  13. Carol says:

    My own progress this past week has been shaky… I have a rough draft going for my contest entry but I’m still not entirely happy with it. This week I want to iron out the wrinkles and move ahead into a solid draft.

    I’m enjoying reading all your responses and seeing the progress you’ve made so far. I trust #wipmadness will continue to inspire you through this next week.

    BTW, comments can continue to be left here until Saturday night, and every comment will go into the draw. Happy writing!

  14. Shari Green says:

    I’ve returned to my “morning pages”, and honestly that’s just about all the writing that’s happened this past week. I did a bit on the new wip, though, and started on that pile of books I want to read this summer, so that’s good!

    This week: camping — not an excuse, but an opportunity! It’ll be pen-and-paper for the writing, plus lots of hours in a lawnchair with a good book. Can’t wait!

    Have a great week, everyone!

    • Carol says:

      A lawn chair, a good book and a week of sunshine! That has to be the perfect summer combination! Enjoy your camping. I hope it provides lots of refreshment and refilling of your creative well.

  15. Jeanne Ryan says:

    Like another commenter above, I rarely make excuses for writing. It’s all the other stuff that gets left undone to feed my writing obsession. My week was productive. Finished my third draft and now am giving the ms one more read through before sending it off this weekend.

    • Carol says:

      Finding a balance between what we want to do and what we have to do is always a dilemma, isn’t it? As fellow writers, however, we’re glad to hear your draft won out, and you’ve made such great headway on it. Happy reading!

  16. torimcrae says:

    Carol, I’m glad to report that I managed to get my personal narrative essay finished for my writing class….. and got all the laundry done, somewhat kept up with the rest of the housework and sorted through a stack of papers. I spent two days celebrating my 45th wedding anniversary and an evening out on the 4th of July. All this while I had a sick dog plagued with ‘the runs’ and one of our females in heat. One of my more productive weeks. I am amazed. Thanks for the motivation.
    Tori

    • Carol says:

      Wow! You really did have a productive week! And Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby. I’m a little ahead of you… we’ll be celebrating our 53rd this fall. (When I say the numbers it doesn’t seem possible, but the calendar doesn’t lie!)

      What are your writing goals for this week? ;)

      I hope your dog recovered quickly.

  17. Kip Wilson says:

    Thanks for the tip on the check-in still going on! I pretty much write or revise every day except the days when I consciously decide I need a break, so I don’t worry too much about excuses. One thing that I just realized though: I was at a writers’ retreat from Sun-Wed this week, and I definitely made use of the spotty internet to make sure I sat in the part of the house without internet most of the time. That helped SO MUCH, and I finished my revision in my time there. I think it would have taken me a month or two here at home with my little kiddies underfoot and the internet readily available. So I decided I’m going to make my morning/afternoon writing hours internet-free. Seriously, SO MUCH MORE productive.
    So, now that I finished my revision, I’m making myself take off a few more days, but I’m back to drafting a different WIP starting next week. Looking forward to it!
    And in the meantime, congrats to JRo on last week’s prize, and good luck to all on the fantastic prize this week!!

    • Carol says:

      Glad you made it here to check in, Kip. The writers’ retreat served you well if you were able to finish your revisions there. The internet is probably the biggest distraction we have at home so your decision sounds like a good one. Good luck mustering the necessary discipline. LOL!

  18. bethanyrsmith says:

    Oh no! I almost forgot to check in! I’ve mostly been in brainstorming mode lately, but I did write the first chapter of my WIP… only to rewrite it from third person, which just wasn’t working, to first, which is working fantastically.

    Now I’m going to take Kip’s advice and go internet free for awhile so I can get through chapter 2!

    • Carol says:

      Whew… just made it here under the wire! Glad to hear you got your first chapter nailed. Without the internet interruptions I’m sure you’ll make it through the second chapter in record time. :)

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