This time last year, I was heading back from the holidays fully resolved to meet all of my writing goals: Finish my book, send it out, get published, and earn a fabulous advance. It didn’t happen. A year later, I’m still working on that work-in-progress. I haven’t sent out a query in more than two years. And that fabulous advance check is just as far from my reach now as then.
I could list all kinds of reasons for my lack of achievement in 2005. I could say, legitimately, that my full-time job as a magazine editor and PR pro left me scant creative energy at the end of the day. I could say that my two-hour commute drained me physically and ate up precious writing time. Let’s not forget that I was pregnant, and my first trimester was a blur of puking and sleeping. Oh, and there was that cross-country move in the middle of the year that was just too stressful for me to be able to focus on writing.
Yes, my dear fellow writers, on any given day in 2005, I could have listed any number of obstacles blocking me from my writing dreams.
But let’s face it. Those aren’t REASONS for my lack of success. They’re EXCUSES. Nothing more than whiny, pathetic attempts to justify my own lack of discipline. The fact is, nearly all of my published friends landed their first book deals while juggling full-time jobs and, in most cases, parenthood. They managed to finish their books, find agents, and get published with just as many other responsibilities as me. Did they whine about lack of time? No. They did whatever they could to FIND the time.
So, as we enter 2006, I have just one resolution. NO MORE EXCUSES.
I am just as busy now as I was a year ago. (Busier, actually. I have learned that being a full-time mother is far more draining than being a magazine editor with a two-hour commute.) But no matter how busy I am, the fact remains that I will never see my dreams come true if I don’t crack the whip against my own back. There will be no book deal if I don’t finish the darn thing first. And I will never finish it if I continue to make excuses.
Happy New Year! Happy Writing!
OCC member Louise Knott Ahern is a freelance journalist
and public relations coach who writes contemporary romances.
Sheâ€™s the author of â€œOpting Out:
A Career Womanâ€™s Guide to Going Home Without Going Crazy,â€