Writing Excuses 7.14: Writing Excuses

Today’s episode of Writing Excuses is about writing excuses — all those handy tricks that the great authors use to prevent themselves from finishing any book before its time  (let alone its deadline.)

Get out the vacuum, grab some Q-tips and a bottle of alcohol, and make today the day that you fill your life with the sense of wonder that will permeate  your book forty years from now.

“Here, kitty kitty…”


Write a series of 16 numerals. This is probably Jordo’s credit card number, or at least one of them (in one of the many universes where he is still allowed to use credit cards.) Go shopping! Oh, you’ll need the expiration date! It’s April 1st, 2012.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies,  by Rob Wilson and Rhena Branch, narrated by Simon Slater

73 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 7.14: Writing Excuses”

  1. @ Dallan, I feel your pain as I had my own struggling years of self defeat and depression. I understand that it’s common among us creative types. But writing can be that outlet or escape from the toils of reality, or our own skewed perceptions of it.

    I’m glad to hear you found your way out of it. And the analogy with the wobbly steps of a toddler is spot on. My daughter doesn’t give up because she falls down, or hits her head on something. She gives me that adorable “why did that happen?” look and then gets right back up again. I too am much happier today and writing is a big part of that joy.

  2. This podcast was at best a good joke vastly overdone, and at worst a waste of time. I did find a couple of bits funny, but not enough to justify the whole 17 minutes. To think that only recently you were (justifiably) congratulating yourselves on how punchy you were, unlike those other podcasts with a couple of points padded out to an hour.

  3. @RG: You should mix it up a bit. Don’t shave your beard for a few months, and give up on your book after a week (or as soon as it becomes itchy)

    I also believe Jim Butcher sustained himself on nothing but Coca-Cola while writing the Dresden Files. And if you want to emulate J. K. Rowling, remember that she lived on a train ever since she started writing the first book, and being the pro she is, only moved out once the last movie hit the theaters.

  4. This is brilliant; I was laughing tears the whole time. I’m having stomach pains from laughing so hard. I love your guys’ sense of humor, and how seriously you delivered it. Awesome work.

  5. Funny cast! Great stuff. Kind of a reverse psychology experiment, no?

    Sometimes we get these ideas in our heads and build them up to be these BIG deals, but to hear you guys make light of some of the same things I’ve often said to myself helps put it all in its proper, silly perspective. Writing is hard and takes work and dedication. There are plenty of excuses NOT to write if you’re looking for them. Saying it like this makes me focus on the reasons I DO want to write.

    In all seriousness, however, the single best writing excuse out there? Starting a writing career when you have a toddler and another one on the way. I wish I hadn’t used so many of those excuses ten years ago, but I am where I am now and all I can do going forward is to write.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. I don’t understand why everybody loved this one so much. Did anybody else think that the advice in this episode, well… wasn’t very good?

    I can understand putting off writing for a while until you have some more life experience but maybe their advice goes too far? I suppose they’re the published ones and I’m not, though.

  7. Guys…your timing is flawless!

    Honestly, I did not see this one coming and was pleasantly surprised. I was so surprised, in fact, that I found something to sort…by colour, of course.

  8. The incessant pummeling is a key part of the point of this episode. This is not just a prank, a joke, but a lesson: you push the joke to the absurd in order to exhaust it, to empty it out so that the demon contained in the joke (and all jokes start out as demons, as eruptions, as incongruities, as fears) is exorcised and no longer has power over you. Or at least its power is much diminished. When you sit down to write and begin to engage in mild forms of the behavior, you can see them for what they are and say “So do I keep going down this track and end up vacuuming cats? Or do I get to work?”

    Also: the WE team wouldn’t have been able to sustain this in such detail and so easily if they themselves were not extremely well acquainted with the excuses, the time-wasters, the busy work that interfere with real writing. There is understanding and love behind the sarcasm. Or so it seems to me.

  9. Yeah, so, I’m in the middle of a short writing break that turned out to go for 4 1/2 hours… ahem. And I found myself on iGoogle, catching up on writing excuses. And of course, this this is the fourth one I listened to, when I was only going to listen to just one, and so um, yeah, thanks for the swift kick in the pants. Oh so inspirational. :)

    I’m closing my internet browser down right now, and then I’m going to write the next scene in my current WIP.


  10. For me, this was the best episode of writing excuses ever, even better than the puppet one, and I’ve only heard about 50 of them. Something magical happened when you put on your satire hats. I feel more encouraged than ever by some parts (write your own rejection letter and world build for 40 years and clean your keyboard).

  11. OMG guys, you’re killing me. Did you really pull this through the whole episode? I’m at minute ten, and I’m beginning to feel I’m in a parallel universe. But I have to admit, your sarcasm pointed at some of my flaws, so give it to me, all the hard truth! :D

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