There’s Life, and Then There’s Real Life

Last week I ‘gallivanted’ my way to a granddaughter’s wedding, a wonderful family visit and back to my own home again. Did I write during my absence? Of course. Did I write much? Of course not! Life got in the way.


As writers we’re led to believe that we should be able to write “no matter what” – that if writing is our passion we’ll always find the time. That’s idealistic. Reality says that times of unexpectedness are bound to interrupt our routines, and unless we’re impossibly addicted to our work, we’ll know when family needs, personal health, work responsibilities, church commitments — other priorities — require our attention.

We’ll always have to contend with the complexities of our daily lives. But how do we know when those other activities and apparent demands are priorities or simply excuses?

If it prevents us from making a start, I’d say it’s probably an excuse. “I’ll wait until my children are in school.” “Once I’m finished this course I’ll have more time.” “I can’t focus on anything while home renovation has the household in chaos.” “I’m feeling overwhelmed by life; I can’t write when I’m this depressed.” I’d say those are all excuses. Temporary, relatively brief interruptions are more likely to be valid priorities.

Am I wrong? What do you consider valid interruptions in your writing process?


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

12 thoughts on “There’s Life, and Then There’s Real Life

  1. Welcome back, Carol! Sounds as though you had a great time gallivanting!!

    You’re right, there are plenty of excuses out there to keep us from writing. As for valid interruptions, I’m trying to think of exactly why I wasn’t all that productive last winter and I’m inclined to say it was because I had too much free time on my hands. Silly as it sounds, I find when I’m busier than usual I’m more inclined to write. Maybe it’s because I feel that urge to save a slice of time for myself at the end of the day.

    1. We had a wonderful time, thanks. I had my laptop with me, but cherished time interacting with children and grandchildren was my priority. I don’t see them very often.

      I don’t think it’s silly at all to make better use of limited time than unlimited time. I always seem to accomplish more when I have a deadline, whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours.

  2. So true. I’m full of excuses. Worse, I’m full of excuses for not reading. I want more hours in the day! Thanks for this post, Carol.

  3. Hi, I have been looking up my blog at the internet, and I find your post about my Kreativ Blogger-award. I am glad you like it! Fun to se all your work to find its origin. 🙂 Hulda 🙂

    1. Hello, Hulda. Thanks for coming to my blog. I was glad to be able to find yours, too, and the information about your Kreativ Blogger Award. You’re very talented, and your designs are beautiful!

  4. I think family commitments and work responsibilites are valid reasons for not following a strict writing schedule. Illness is another good one.

    As you mention, we’re told if we want to be successful it’s important to make time to write no matter what, and for some people that’s good advice. Perhaps I’m not a serious writer, but if I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. Writing is my hobby, and I do it for pleasure more than profit. If that’s an excuse, it doesn’t bother me.

    1. Maybe one of the reasons people wrestle with the excuse/procrastination element is because they haven’t fully identified what writing means to them. If you enjoy writing mainly as a hobby then yours is a very legitimate response.

  5. Carol,
    So funny that you posted on this today since I’ve been the master of excuses for the past week.
    My old computer crashed and “I can’t do anything until the new one is up and running” then
    “I can’t write with all this mess from switching over computers, I need to organize everything so I can think”‘
    “I’ll just clean out that one shelf that’s been loaded with stuff I need to do like type up all these notes on active vs. passive verbs and make a nice little one sheet of tips”
    “Since I’m not inspired to write right now, I’ll do a week’s worth of blog posts”
    “Oh look, my new computer lets me see all my photos I haven’t seen in years. Let me check them ALL out, then call in the children to do the same”
    and so on…
    So, needless to say, your post was very timely! I’ve been avoiding getting started because I’m nervous about the needed changes.
    Christi Corbett

    1. LOL! At least you recognize they’re excuses and what the real reason is. Being “nervous about the needed changes” is one of my big ones, too. I procrastinated on my last revisions, not quite sure how I was going to do what needed to be done. Fortunately I had another project on the go so I made progress on it while avoiding the other.

  6. I think you’re right on with the idea that if something keeps us from starting, it’s an excuse. Seems like a good measuring stick for “self evaluating”. Thanks! 🙂

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