Excuses, excuses

Sometimes I blarg about what’s going on in my life, sometimes I find a topic somewhere that I like, and oftentimes on Saturdays I take the topic from Linda G Hill’s site for a stream-of-consciousness post that I type without second-guessing myself.

Today’s topic honestly feels as if guest author Leigh Michaels slithered in through my earhole, squeezed the spongy matter of my brain, and slurped up the juicy bits of raw fear that came dripping out. Her prompt is the word “excuse,” and boy oh boy have I been making excuses lately.

The novel has slid right away from me over the past two weeks. I finally navigated the minefield of rewriting a particularly troublesome scene, and, flush with success, allowed myself to miss a couple of editing sessions owing to… well… a slew of excuses. I was really busy at work (I was). I was mentally tapped after fixing that one scene (it’s true). Kids were wearing me out (always true). And I allowed those excuses to be “good enough” to allow myself not to work on the novel without chipping away at my self-esteem.

However, that permissive slide is in direct violation of the mantra of my blarg, which is “momentum matters”. Actually, no, the mantra of my blarg is that “things don’t always have to mean things, except that things ALWAYS mean things.” And the permissive slide is actually not so much a direct violation of the “momentum matters” thing as it is a perfect example of it.

You say you’re going to get up at 5 AM and run three days a week, and you do it for two weeks, but in week 3 that snooze button is just too tempting, and then it’s all too easy to hit that snooze button every morning, and before you know it, those early morning runs are a thing of the past. You say you’re going to diet, and you do well for a while, but then you go out to dinner and, well, a couple bites of chips and queso won’t hurt, and next thing you’re at the drive-thru ordering a double cheeseburger because the diet is already screwed for the week, why stop the slide now?

So: I allowed myself out of a few days’ worth of novel work, and those few days turned into almost two weeks.

I had good excuses. Valid excuses. Excuses which are totally reasonable for getting me off the hook. But they’re establishing the sort of momentum that I don’t want gumming up the gears around here. Now, work has been busy, and the holidays do have me a bit more stressed than usual… but next week it’ll be something else, some new stressor, some new obstacle to getting the work done. And yes, it’d be perfectly reasonable to acknowledge those excuses and continue not to work on the novel. Believe me, I feel the gravity of that black hole.

But it’s not the time to embrace excuses. The edit is at about 70%. I may not finish it by the new year, as was my goal, but I will damn sure finish it, excuses or no.

So thanks for the prompt, Leigh… you’ve shone a bright light on my dark enabling of my own lame half-assery.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

16 thoughts on “Excuses, excuses

  1. I agree with you about momentum, and why making reasonable-enough excuses for too long is dangerous because before you know it, that can end up being a long-term pattern. So kudos to you for snapping out of it in just 2 weeks — I’ve had excuse-making phases much longer than that! 🙂 And good luck on finishing your writing!


  2. I have had difficulty keeping my own “rules” lately — often, there are valid excuses for not sticking to what we set out to achieve, but things don’t get done, either way. I’m looking forward to a clean slate in 2015.


  3. Well, that certainly wasn’t my intention!!
    However, I agree with you about momentum and “the slide,” which always seems to happen for me right around this time of year (and then again in March-ish). Finding a way to keep the momentum going in the midst of busy-ness can be very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t want to say “the slide” is inevitable, but it’s certainly to be expected now and then, and especially at this time of year. I’ve never done a 12-step program, but the first step is admitting you have a problem. I think that acknowledging the slide, at the very least, puts you on the right path toward dealing with it… and stopping it from sliding further out of control.

      Liked by 1 person

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