101 Excuses Not to Write That Book

As a published author who has attended numerous writers groups and writers conferences over the last decade, I’ve heard lots of excuses about why people don’t write. Some of them I’ve even heard coming from myself! For fun, I came up with a list of 101 excuses why people don’t write that book they say they are always going to write. See what you think.

1. No one will want to read it anyway.

2. I’m not good enough.

3. I don’t have time to be creative.

4. I have to take care of everybody else first.

5. I’m just too busy to go on book tours.

6. The sun is in my eyes.

7. Starbucks has run out of coffee.

8. I don’t know what to write about.

9. No one will understand me.

10. I don’t think I can handle success.

11. I don’t think I can handle failure.

12. If my parents had encouraged/would encourage me more, I could do this.

13. If my spouse/children/teachers/friends would encourage me more, I could do this.

14. Writers are naval-gazers.

15. I like money too much to become a starving artist.

16. It takes too long to learn to write well.

17. I don’t like criticism.

18. There’s a ballgame on.

19. I don’t like to read.

20. My twitter followers need me to tweet about what I had for lunch.

21. See #1 on the list (it’s worth repeating).

22. The spell-check on my computer is set to British English.

23. I don’t want to have to promote my own book.

24. I don’t really have anything to say.

25. Everybody says I should write a book, but I don’t believe them.

26. See # 7.

27. I want to save on electricity.

28. I can’t find the pencil sharpener I used in 3rd grade.

29. The back of this envelope isn’t big enough.

30. I can’t afford the gasoline to drive to Starbucks.

31. There are no comfortable chairs in my house.

32. It’s too cold.

33. It’s too hot.

34. My facebook friends need me to post something every 5 minutes.

35. I work fulltime.

36. I’m already better than all those bozos writing today.

37. If I can’t have fame and fortune, I don’t want to bother.

38. Writing is the get-rich-slow-or-not-at-all plan.

39. 99% of all writers get their work rejected by publishers.

40. I’ll do it when I have more time to devote to it.

41. I’ll do it when the kids are grown.

42. I’ll do it after my divorce is final.

43. I’ll do it after I am independently wealthy.

44. I’ll do it after I get everything finished with the house.

45. I’ll do it after everybody I want to write about is dead.

46. I need my down time.

47. Most of the writer’s I know are mentally unbalanced.

48. I’m too tired.

49. My neighbors are too loud.

50. Is that a dog barking?

51. I need to go out to get a drink with my neighbors.

52. I have a cut on my finger.

53. My back hurts.

54. My ghostwriter has disappeared.

55. Sarah Palin has already said it all.

56. John Grisholm doesn’t answer my emails.

57. Oprah’s show has ended, so my book won’t be a book club pick.

58. I don’t have anything to wear to the Academy Awards.

59. My cat won’t get off my lap.

60. repeat # 6.

61. I need to wash my car.

62. Somebody’s got to make a living.

63. The coffee shop doesn’t carry my brand of tea.

64. My writer’s group is full of critics.

65. Writer’s conferences are a racket.

66. I have a cramp in my big toe.

67. It’s that time of the month.

68. My bowling team will think I’m a sissy.

69. I won’t have anyone to sit next to at the National Book Awards.

70. I’m shy.

71. I need to make a list of excuses for my blog readers so maybe they’ll laugh and maybe even buy my books.

72. I can’t afford to live in New York City where all the famous writers live.

73. I don’t have time to find an agent.

74. Creativity is over-rated.

75. I’m sleep-deprived.

76. Hemingway killed himself.

77. I don’t have enough self-esteem.

78. I’m a woman.

79. I’m a man.

80. I’m not white.

81. I’m not a person of color.

82. I’m thirsty.

83. Time to eat.

84. I need to see who wins American Idol.

85. I secretly find myself boring and have absolutely nothing to say.

86. Virginia Woolf drowned herself.

87. I don’t want to become an alcoholic.

88. I don’t want to give up drinking.

89. I’m much better than a lot of writers out there; they’ll be jealous.

90. I don’t like competition.

91. The publishing companies only want stories about vampires.

92. No one is getting published these days.

93. I ran out of my medication.

94. If I had had a better childhood, I could do this.

95. My therapist is on vacation for the next two months.

96. I have to write the next great American novel.

97. I’ve never read a great American novel.

98. see # 83 and repeat.

99. I don’t like writers.

100. Is there an app for this?

Now add your own number one excuse for not writing that book, poem, article, screenplay, or other creative endeavor:

101. ——————————

Are there any excuses from the list that you particularly resonate with? We all make excuses. But let’s face it, excuses are boring, and my guess is that you really do have something to say. So why don’t we collectively bury all those excuses in a cyber box in our cyber backyards and get on with it, shall we?

Susan Gabriel is an author of fiction for adults and children. Her latest book, Seeking Sara Summers, is gaining acclaim in diverse circles. More info at http://www.susangabriel.com. Gabriel works and plays in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


  1. MIchael David Young says

    101. There might not be a bookstore to sell it in by the time I finish. (Rest in Peace Borders)

  2. says

    Sad but true. However, there will always be a market for good writing. Our challenge is just to figure out how to get our books/ebooks/whatever to the people who want to read them.

  3. says

    Michael, I feel your pain.

    I also want to say that I agree with you, Cathy. There will always be a market for good writing. The first step is getting it written and making it good! So often writers focus on the marketing part of writing (maybe because it’s so daunting!) and ignore the whole craft element.

    I have a blog where I encourage writers in both areas. Please check it out and subscribe if you’re so inclined! http://www.susangabriel.com/blog