Write only if you cannot live without writing. – Elie Wiesel

1. The house needs to be vacuumed.

2. You want to finish reading that book.

3. Your grammar is poor.

4. You’re tired.

5. Your 7th grade teacher told you that you didn’t write well.

6. You’ll have more time tomorrow, or this weekend, or when you retire.

7. You want to read just one more book on writing.

8. Your yard needs to be mowed.

9. You need to finish this one project for your kids first.

10. You aren’t making any money writing.

11. You don’t know enough writers.

12. You have nothing to say.

13. You don’t have a list of the qualities of good writing.

14. You’re scared of what people might say.

15. You’re scared of what you might say.

16. Your spouse/partner doesn’t support you.

17. You feel guilty taking the time to write.

18. You want writing to be easy.

19. You need sleep.

20. Your computer/pen/pencil/braille stylus broke.

21. You need to do your taxes.

22. You want to make bread.

23. You only want to write if people will read it.

24. You need to alphabetize your bookshelf.

25. You’re sick.

All of these are legitimate reasons not to write.  Almost no one in the world will fault you for heeding them. Almost no one but yourself. Because if you are a writer, you can’t help but long to write. You may not actually do it, but then, that’s a matter of choice.  Always.

Finding time to write is hard- the balance of family and other work, the psychological and emotional fear over doing something so risky, the way that avoidance steps in and makes us think that our dead ladybug collection needs to be vacuumed up right now – all these things step in and push us away from our words.

And the truth is that most people don’t care if we write. The greater world, and even many of the people closer to us, will not suffer if we do not write.  We will, though, and that greater world, well, it might not improve if we don’t write either.  We are the only ones who know.

So, take the time to write. Even when all 25 of these things stand in the way. Take the time. It’s there. You just need to find it . . . if you care enough about writing to do so. And if you don’t care enough, free yourself from the guilt and enjoy these other things.  It’s easier that way.

What else would you add to this list? What keeps you from writing?