The Real Reason You’re Not Writing
By Ruth Barringham
If you’re like a lot of other people, you want to be a writer. Or at least you think you do.
You think to yourself “If only I had the time to write” but you never seem to even have 5 minutes a day to spare.
But the truth is, if you’re not writing, then there is probably a deeper reason that has nothing to do with time constraints.
There was a woman I once knew who said that she wanted to be a lawyer but she had married young and now had 6 children so it was impossible for her to have the time to pursue her career as a lawyer that she’d wanted to do all her life.
The question, though is why did she marry young and have so many children if her true desire was to work in law?
Eventually, all her children reached high school which meant that none of them were so young any more that they needed her to be at home all day. One of her friends encouraged her to now follow her dream of studying law.
She said she couldn’t because she was still busy working in her home while her family were at school and work. Her friend then brought her brochures from Open University and showed her that she could study at home.
The woman then made a new excuse. She didn’t have the money to pay for the text books or to pay for the course and what would she do if one of her kids got sick and had to stay at home?
Do you see what she did? When her first excuse (the young children) was no longer valid she came up with another excuse and then another, all of which were designed to annihilate all possibilities of her returning to study.
Why would she do that? Because she didn’t want to study law at all. She wasn’t really a career person. She was comfortable where she was and wanted to stay there.
I also knew another woman who used her young children as an excuse not to work. When the youngest one started school and her husband talked to her about getting a job, she suddenly developed agoraphobia and couldn't get a job. Funny that, isn’t it?
And it’s the same with you if you say you want to be a writer but you’re not writing.
Real writers do it because their need to write is stronger than their desire to do other things. They want to write.
If you’re stuck in the trap of saying you want to be a writer and then never doing anything about it, try this simple exercise.
Start a journal. Every day write something in your journal. All you need is 5 minutes to sit and write a few sentences about your day. It can even be something as simple as “I went to the local fruit and veg shop this morning because I wanted to get some mushrooms for dinner. But the mushrooms looked old and had brown spots on them so I decided to make the family something else to eat instead.”
If you do this every day it will have two effects.
Firstly it will get you into the habit of sitting down every day and writing, which is best if you write at the same time every day.
Secondly, it will prove to you whether or not you enjoy writing.
I find that even on days when I don’t feel like writing, once I sit down and start, I get onto a roll and can keep going for hours.
I hope it works that way for you too.