Between the Lines

Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. 

They have a lot of excuses and then they talk like victims.

— Carlos Santana

What feels better than busting myths? Busting excuses. Insidious little creatures, they keep you from doing the creative work so necessary for your soul. An excuse is your subconscious justifying procrastination so you won’t need to blame yourself. The bad and good news is the same: It is entirely up to you to move past excuses and do your creative work. The excuse-voice urges you to do more “necessary” tasks and before you know it, you’ve procrastinated a year or more on a project that is important to you. What to do? Bust the excuses. Here are some common excuses and some help for you to move past them and into your creative zone.

I don’t have the time to write (paint, sing, sew, dance, etc.) 

This is the underlying excuse of many other, more specific ones (my kids need help with homework, I have to drive xxx to practice, I have to do laundry, I have a job, etc.) Everyone has the same amount of time and feels the pull from many priorities. The truth: If you keep doling out your time to others and none for yourself, you will burn out and get used up, becoming less effective in your life and for your loved ones. Look at your creative time as recharging your batteries. Find a way to fit creative time in your life and SCHEDULE IT (yeah, sorry I yelled, but this is key). Schedule time every day or a few creativity sessions a week. Get up early, go to bed late, or choose a few lunch hours to create. Even if you can only wedge in one hour a week, schedule it and keep to it.

But I can’t write unless I have lots of big blocks of time. Baloney. If you write one page a day you’ll have at least two books worth by the end of the year. Or a wonderful body of work for your art show in 2019. Or be in the best dance shape of your life by this time next year. You get the idea.

I have so many ideas, I don’t know what to start or work on. You can remedy this one immediately. Get out paper (or go to your computer) and make a list of your ideas. Pretty soon you will find you are inspiring yourself. Choose the one that excites you the most, allow your passion to explode, and go for it!

I have to see what is happening on Facebook (Twitter, e-mail, etc.). No you don’t. Remember that time you scheduled? It’s sacred. And honestly, when was the last time you had an emergency on Facebook or a must-answer-this-second e-mail? You are kidding yourself if you think these major time-sucks are more important than you.

Decide what you want by this time next year. A book, a full journal, a body of creative work to display, a fulfilled and happy self, or a bunch of measly excuses piled up? The choice is entirely yours.

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion.” She writes from her home in Spring Green she shares with her husband and cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com.