To Write or To Not-Write

Being a good writer requires many skills, creativity the chief among them. In addition, an appreciation for rules of grammar, spelling, plot development, and character development are extremely important. It is also good to have a few reference books—ones about writing, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Of course, today the World Wide Web—via Google and others—has replaced the need for a physical library. Personally, I like to touch the books.

Not-writing, on the other hand, requires only one ability—procrastination: the action of delaying or postponing something AKA stalling.

If you are a professional writer, you must be able to skillfully accompany procrastinating with a solid excuse. The fact that a piece is not written, edited, or outlined is not generally acceptable. There has to be a reason your publisher or editor—and even yourself—will understand, i.e., believe and forgive.

Here are a few suggestions with important caveats. Please note: overuse can be risky.

  1. Sick Pet—make sure you have a pet; long-term symptoms add credence; veterinarian receipts may be required
  2. Sick Friend—make sure you have a friend; long-term symptoms and an explanation why you are only friend who could assist may be required; pictures of friend in doctor’s waiting room are a bonus
  3. Sick Relative—make sure relative named is alive and living close enough for you to assist, although having to travel to the relative’s city is a bonus; distant relatives may require additional explanation
  4. Pet ate manuscript—make sure pet is large enough to do the deed (no fish); use only if desperate or speaking to gullible individual
  5. Computer problem—offer details and horror stories about losing files; invoices from computer technician may be required; be prepared to explain why you didn’t buy a new computer
  6. Yard work—make sure you have a yard; grass and/or weeds must exceed height limit for your neighborhood/city/county; planting a vegetable garden does not qualify
  7. House chores—provide a long list (cleaning, laundry, painting, etc.) with last completion date for each; back up with pictures of dust, grime, spider webs, dirty clothes, & dirty dishes
  8. Overtime at day-job—make sure you have a day-job; time card records may be required
  9. Hospital Admission—for yourself, magnitude of illness must be raised; include reason for not taking your laptop with you; hospital invoices may be required
  10. Day off for good behavior—works only (but not always) if speaking to yourself
  11. Creativity on fritz—clever, but amateurish
  12. Funeral of friend/relative—use only if true

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