May 292014 9 Responses

You Always Have an Excuse

It’s a common question I receive, “How do you write five blog posts a week?” I always answer, “I don’t. I write seven or eight a week and from that I might have five I can publish.”

Posting five times a week is too much, especially when the average post is 750 words. Generally speaking, a person should only publish a few thousand words a week, not 3,500–4,000.

However, building an audience and a blog is not my primary goal. It is a secondary goal, but my primary goal is learning to write and building a library of information on certain topics. I write for myself—to learn, think, and engage. A byproduct of my writing is that others get to read, interact, and maybe be bettered by the words they read. (See: Do You Know What Today Is?)

But I’ve found something to be true over the past 16 months since I started this blog—I always have an excuse not to write.

  • sick kids
  • busy schedules
  • dying church members
  • late night meetings
  • vacations
  • work expectations
  • family needs

No matter the day, there is always a reason I can justify to myself not to write. Some of the reasons are clearly just excuses, but many of the issues are legitimate. (See: A Secret About Today Which Could Change Everything)

Early in the process, I came home from work to eat and put the kids to bed but needed to go back to work. After arriving home late, my wife asked me if I was coming to bed. I said, “No, I haven’t written anything today.” She said, “Just come to bed and forget about it. You can always write tomorrow.” It was great advice, but it wasn’t the advice I needed. I told her, “I don’t need you to talk me out of writing; I need you to talk me into writing. Whenever I start to make an excuse, encourage me and send me to my desk.”

I always have an excuse not to write. While it’s more than acceptable to accept that life situations will allow me to do what I want to do today, those moments must be rare. If I start allowing every excuse to prevent me from working, I will never accomplish what I desire.

What’s true of writing is true of life.

You always have an excuse.

No matter what it is you are trying to do, you always have an excuse not to do it.

  • Exercise
  • Apologize
  • Work
  • Rest
  • Write
  • Invent
  • Go to church
  • Invest
  • Improve your marriage
  • Teach your kid

No matter the task, there is always an excuse not to do it. The difference between those who accomplish things and those who do not is most often defined by what we do with excuses. Those that obey them feel justified but do nothing. Those who ignore them can do great things.

I have a friend who is a wonderful musician. After shows and concerts people will come up to him and compliment his guitar-playing ability. Nearly every night he hears, “I always wanted to play the guitar.” (See: On Creativity and Truth)

When my friend hears this, he often says to himself, “No you don’t.” Because if they did, they would practice. He thinks back to all the hours he spent practicing and the things he chose to miss out on in order to play the guitar, and he knows—if they really wanted to play the guitar, they would’ve played the guitar.

As I write, it’s 11:45 on a Friday night. My kids have been in bed for a few hours. My wife went to bed an hour ago. But I’m on the couch with laptop in my lap. There are plenty of excuses not to write at this moment—I’ve written a good amount this week, it’s almost the weekend, it’s late, no one will know if I don’t write. I could just relax; my blog posts for next week are already done. There are plenty of excuses, but I’m writing anyway. I’m writing because I know if I begin to listen to one excuse, I will likely listen to them all.

You always have an excuse not to do whatever it is you want to do. Ignore the excuse and do the work.

9 Responses to You Always Have an Excuse
  1. Debbie Reply

    Thank you for writing. It has been my opinion for quite awhile that we always have excuses for what we don’t want to do. However, if an opportunity to do something we really want to do is presented, we can’t find one excuse to say no. We’ll do whatever it takes.

  2. Courtney Reply

    Is spending time with your wife an excuse to not write? Or us writing an excuse to not spend time with your wife? I enjoyed this post, really…I I’m not trying to be vexatious, but I felt a little confused after reading it. Obviously your wife was wanting some time and attention from you and you kind of blew her off, along with sort of scolding her for not encouraging you. I guess that would be my perception if I was in her shoes. Just a thought…

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Courtney, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear about this. My wife was not trying to spend time with me, she was feeling sorry for me and wanted me to take a break. I assure you that if it would been about her wanting to spend time with me, my response would’ve been completely different.

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