My chinchilla peed on my keyboard so I couldn’t work on my novel. What’s your favorite excuse for not writing?

The excuses against far outnumber the reasons for. Plus they’re SO much more fun!

Writer’s block must be the most visited block in the world. So many people visit every single day! But are we blocked or are we finding excuses not to write? To convince yourself that it’s a really good one and that, just for today, you shouldn’t write. We can convince ourselves of anything, can’t we? Whew!

You’ve been there. Maybe you are there. Do you have excuses that you tell other people (maybe like the green box below), but then others that are the real reasons you’re not writing (that’s probably the red box). Those hurt. Maybe you have a  few middle-of-the-road yellow ones, too? So much to choose from! Woo hoo!

What’s your favorite writing excuse? Please let us know in the comments!

Here are just a few, but I need feedback as to what your excuses are. There are silly ones, hard ones and teeth grinding ones. I’m going to categorize a few here. Where you do fall?


These are light hearted. Maybe you tell your friends this. Or your neighbors. Or the late-shift bartender …

  1. My dog peed on my laptop.
  2. Don’t writers need to be depressed? I’m too happy to write!
  3. My stories are hilarious! But no one else thinks so. Of course, I haven’t shown them to anyone yet.
  4. I can’t spell good.
  5. Writers are alcoholics. I don’t even drink!
  6. My plan is to write a few novels, then kill myself. That way I’ll be a huge hit in memoriam. All the big stars do it that way.
  7. The editing process is, like, SO tedious! Can’t deal.


These are little heavier. You got through the night, but your co-worker asks how your writing is going. They don’t really care, they’re just being friendly. You can win them over with a yellow.

  1. I just can’t find the time.
  2. I’ll start writing when I retire.
  3. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike.
  4. I’ve written a few books, but they’re gathering dust. So I don’t write anymore.
  5. I don’t know what to write about.
  6. I’d rather read books about writing.
  7. No one will understand my voice.
  8. I would write, but my parents always wanted me to be a _________ (fill in blank, e.g. tax attorney).
  9. I need to do more research so I know absolutely everything there is to know about  _________ (e.g. grasshoppers).
  10. I don’t feel like it. Well, not in the mornings anyway. Sometimes in the early evening. Maybe the late afternoon/early evening. But never at dusk! (rough credit: Steve Martin)
  11. I have too much to write about, I don’t know where to start.


These are reserved for you. The bartender smiled and gave you a free Mojito. Your colleague smiled, but a condolence smile, like your dog died. These excuses cut deep, they hurt. They’re red like blood.

  1. It’s what I was born to do, but I don’t do it, so I might as well die.
  2. I’m a perfectionist and I don’t want to spoil that.
  3. I need to be a mother now, not a writer.
  4. I like thinking about writing and the afterglow of writing, but not writing. So I don’t do it.
  5. I don’t have enough big blocks of time for writing.
  6. I’ll get started tomorrow.
  7. There are so many books in the bookstores already!
  8. I could use a support group for accountability. Or deadlines. Or both.
  9. No one cares what I think.
  10. I have a real job, I don’t have time to write.
  11. I have much of a novel written, but I don’t know what to do next.
  12. I’m shy.
  13. I needed an editor and I didn’t have one, so I kinda stopped writing.
  14. I don’t have a good excuse. I’m just not writing.

So what’s your excuse?

Please share in the comments!

If you wish to remain anonymous, just use a fake (but funny!) name. If you’re looking for help and tips and tricks … I’m working on some. Your real, jokey, and painful excuses will help us build tools to help us get past the excuses. At least one! If you have more, let ’em rip!

P.S. There’s only one reason that I’ve found as to why I write: because I can’t not.

Click to Tweet: What’s your favorite excuse to not write? I’m collecting the best (and worst!), please share!

More and More Excuses. They just keep coming!

If you’re a reddit user, the post is here:

  1. words.
    When I don’t write it’s because I think I won’t find the words to capture the ideas.
    Not a valid excuse, because once you start the words come, but nonetheless, that’s the excuse I use. (joekerr37 via reddit) [Red column]
  2. I am comatose. (DanKolar62 via reddit) [Red column]
  3. I’m too drunk
    I’m not drunk enough.
    Did I eat dinner? Maybe I should try a new complicated recipe.
    The fridge looks pretty dirty. I should probably scrub her down.
    I should probably call my mom.
    Did I listen to my bank statement today?
    But my cat looks so comfortable on my lap.
    I should really catch up on “The Walking Dead”
    My shower is draining slowly, I should fix that.
    I’ll be damned if I can’t find an excuse to not wrote. But it’s okay because I’m a binge writer. I won’t write until I explode.
    Editing my writing is pretty much constant, though. The only thing that I love more than writing is shitting on myself.
    It’s all about balance, you unhealthy freaks like me. (friskyjohnson via reddit)
  4. Too tired.
    Sugar rush.
    Internet access.
    Reading Wikipedia Research. (crow queen via reddit)
  5. Just not having a solid thing to hook the next chapter on. (Mofofett via reddit)
  6. The propanonolololol makes me exhausted. Imitrex makes me weird. Also there’s a puppy. (RattusRattus via reddit)
  7. Obviously, to perfectly capture the essence of this scene, I need to ruminate on it for at least another week.
    I like imaging my novel like my favorite movie instead of actually writing it down, and then I like reading what I wrote more than writing more. (poondi via reddit)
  8. Strangely enough it’s always household chores that get me – so whenever I set down for a weekend with a plan to hit up a good few thousand words, almost miraculously the floors will be vacuumed, the dishes washed and put away; the bathroom will be cleaned. And no words will have been written!I think there was a famous writer who suggested having two books/projects on the go at the same time; because he always felt as though he NEEDED to be slacking off at least one writing, so when writing one he satisfied that urge by ignoring his other project. (Professor_Wu via reddit)
By |2017-07-06T14:23:35+00:00August 17th, 2015|Writing|1 Comment

About the Author:

Bradley Charbonneau was sitting with his 8-year old reading a bad children's book when he said to his son, "We can do better than this ... and you're going to help me." Then they did it. He hasn't stopped since.

One Comment

  1. […] I like thinking about writing and the afterglow of writing, but not writing. So I don’t do it.… (Aug 17) […]

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