A Novel Observed #19 – I’m Too Busy To Write

The Writing Stage

The Writing Stage

Not only that – I’m clearly too busy to write this post! I started it two days ago, but only got as far as the title.

And now it’s three days!

I’d like to say it has something to do with the summer holidays and the fact I have four children running, who would usually be at school during my working week, running around the house causing havoc. I’d like to say it’s because I have some sample rewriting to do for my publisher, an iOS/Android app to project manage for a client and a mobile website to produce for another. I’d like to say that I’m too busy because I have to sort out my bees which have been invaded by wax moths. I’d like to say that I’m too busy because there are loads of DIY jobs to do on the house, which are best done during the holidays. I’d like to say I’m too busy because I have all the household accounts to manage, emails to write, soap to make, a boat trailer to repair, books to read, programmes to watch, friends and family to visit, animals to tend and a plethora of other responsibility to attend to, including this blog.

In short, I’d like to say that, because I’m a normal human being as well as a writer, I’m simply too busy to write.

But I know it’s just an excuse. An illusion. A trick I play on myself. Here’s how I know:

Sometimes I don’t have much to do – no emails have come in, unfinished jobs are awaiting deliveries or input from others , the children are occupied, the house is tidy, there’s no particular TV series I’ve got on the go. You get the picture. An ideal time to get some writing done, yes?

I had this situation one after while I was writing chapter 13, The First Cut, and I was looking forward to hammering my way through to the end of the chapter. And did I? Did I heck! Instead, I found myself wandering aimlessly around the internet, trailing through information that was relevant to nothing and products that were not required. I might tap out a few words, but then I’d find myself flicking over to my emails, just to check there were no new one and to see if there were any older ones I’d failed to respond to. Then I’d have a fiddle with my website, changing a few bits around, prodding it where is didn’t need to be prodded, fixing it where it wasn’t broken. And in the end I maybe dragged out a couple of hundred words of the novel.

And yet, at the end of the day I looked back and felt that my poor word count had been due to me being busy.


The truth of the matter is that sometimes I just don’t feel like writing. Worse than that, sometimes writing feels like a waste of time – even more of a waste of time than looking at welding masks on eBay when I already have a perfectly good one and have no intention of buying another! Is this a problem? On the one hand, maybe not. Maybe I should allow myself a break from writing if I feel like it. Maybe I could just leave writing the novel for a few days. Or a week. Or a month or two. Why would that matter?

It would, of course, matter for the simple reason that writers write, and if I’m not writing, I’m not really a writer.

I’m just a guy who had a go at writing.

As always, the only way to break through the ‘I’m too busy to write’ block is… wait for it… it’s coming… I’m sure it’ll surprise you… the way to break through is… to keep on writing. It sounds so annoyingly simplistic, but only because that’s exactly what it is – a simple solution to a simple problem. It’s also the answer to ‘I’m too busy to [fill in item here]’ – recognise it as the lie it is (even if you genuinely are too busy – this is still a lie) and get on with the item in question.

I think it’s time we had a chat about daily word count…