I know our relationship is pretty new, but things are about to get serious.
You see, you and I have a lot in common. We’re both bright. We’ve both got really great ideas, products, and/or services to share with the world. We’ve both got expertise in a field that most people don’t, and we feel a responsibility to share it.
But that’s where things can get tricky. The sharing it part.
Instead of sitting down at the keyboard to tackle the digital blank page before us, we do the dishes. We work out. We sort the DVD collection by alphabet.
We make up all kinds of (WEAK) excuses for why now is just NOT the best time to write that newsletter – sales page – about page – email – 1920s murder mystery.
And as a result, the world is missing out on our genius. We’re selfishly hoarding our gifts, and everybody loses.
Well that stops TODAY.
In this post, I’m going to slay our best (worst) excuses. This will be a resource we can call upon when we need an e-slap to the face to snap us out of our procrastination comas.
WARNING: ONLY keep reading if you’re ready to squash the excuses. The content that follows will poke holes in each and every one of the excuses we’ve been wearing as security blankets for…possibly…ever. If you’re not ready to get down and wordy, go back to watching The Voice…now.
The Pep Talk
Okay, pal. You asked for it!
You must mean business. (And I really like that about you.)
Before I get into the excuse-slaying, though, I want to make sure we’re on the same page. You can only view these excuses as weak if you truly understand WHY communicating your message is SO very important.
By not sitting down and cranking out this killer content, you’re missing out on the chance to:
- Display your expertise
- Build your credibility
- Establish meaningful connections with your audience
- Attract new clients or customers
- Grow your business
- Share your gifts and talents with the world
Do you see that? Do you really believe it?
I do, with my whole heart. That’s why I’m writing this today.
Nobody else can see the amazing ideas brewing between your ears. We need you to tell us.
It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be shared. (Tweet that!)
So let’s get to it. According to my very (un)scientific survey, these are the top 10 BEST and weakest excuses on the block.
Excuse #1: I’m tired.
In my experience, being a grown-up can be a bit exhausting. We’ve got kids, we’ve got jobs, we’ve got a LOT of responsibilities, from sun-up to sun-down (and everywhere in between).
If you’re truly too tired to make writing a priority, here are three tips:
- Cut out some unnecessary activities, and find more sleep.
- Make time to exercise so that you’ll get an extra boost of energy.
- Find someone who sells Advocare (like my sister!). Spark may be your very best friend. (Really – check it out and thank me later.)
Excuse #2: I don’t have time.
(I’m too busy with work, kids, washing my hair, etc.)
This is going to be annoying to hear, but it’s important. The statement, “I don’t have time” is a statement of priorities, not fact. We make time for things we want to do.
Maybe the problem is that you just don’t see why writing should be a priority. Let me tell you again: Your business will not grow unless you tell people about it. By staying quiet, you’re missing out. That’s all there is to it.
So do what you gotta do to make SOME time for writing. Watch less TV, wake up a little earlier, or hire someone to do a task you don’t have to do yourself.
Wanna know what you, me, and the President of the United States have in common? We all get 24 hours in each day. Set honest priorities based on what’s really important to you, and make ’em count.
Excuse #3: I’m overwhelmed.
There’s too much to do!
Take a deep breath, and get organized. Truly. You’ve got two options here:.
- Sit there and keep telling yourself you’re overwhelmed.
- Get off your booty and start tackling the to-do list.
Which is going to make you feel better at the end of the day?
It’s not fun, but it’s pretty easy to hang out in overwhelm and wear it as an excuse. I’ve always wondered about people who seem to brag that they’re stressed. In reality, they’re just admitting that they’re really poor at managing their time and priorities (see Excuse #2). Not cool.
Here’s what you need to do: Get all of your ideas out on paper so they’re not keeping you up at night. Create some mental white space. Then, sort through all of those ideas and figure out what’s most important to do today, this week, this month.
Excuse #4: It’s all been said before.
Why would they want to hear it from me?
Everything is derivative. There are very few 100% NEW and innovative ideas out there. Just because you’re not inventing time travel doesn’t mean you have nothing to contribute to the world.
Don’t just watch everyone else play from the safety of the sidelines. Get in the game! (Tweet that!)
You’ve got an entire lifetime of unique experiences and insights that creates a one-of-a-kind frame of reference. That’s valuable! Someone needs to hear about your particular area of expertise in the way that ONLY YOU can share it. It’s true.
Don’t let ’em down.
Excuse #5: I’m just not inspired.
I need to be in the right frame of mind.
It would be great if we all had time to just wait until the muse came and sprinkled us with creativity dust, but it ain’t gonna happen.
Sure, you may have an epiphany in the shower or while washing the dishes (happens to me all the time!). If you’re in a position where you can drop everything (not the dishes) and sprint to the nearest keyboard, GREAT.
But that’s probably not the case.
So writing needs to become a habit. An almost-everyday practice. The more we write, the better we become. The quicker we find our own voice and style.
Think: Working out for three hours on a Saturday is not nearly as beneficial as working out for 30 minutes Monday through Friday. Same with writing. While it’s great to write in batches if your schedule allows and you’re feeling inspired, it’s really not practical for many of us.
That’s okay. Just take a shot of discipline and make yourself write a little bit, several days a week. Eventually it’ll be part of the daily routine, just like flossing. (Wait…what do you mean you don’t have time to floss either?)
Excuse #6: What if no one reads it?
I’ll look stupid.
It’s a legitimate fear. You could pour all this work into your content, and your mom, spouse, and best friend may be the only people who read it.
Here’s what I’ve got to say about that: You gotta learn the tricks of the trade.
Truly. If you don’t understand the basics of what makes a blog post clickable, or what makes a sales page irresistible, you need to take some time and educate yourself. (By joining my VIP list, you’ve already taken one step in that direction – WOOHOO for you!)
Seriously, though. This isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. There are certain considerations you need to make in order to maximize pageviews and drive traffic to your site. Learn ’em.
In terms of looking like a fool, sure. That’s possible too. But it’s a risk you’re taking when you put yourself out there. Big risks, big rewards. A wise fortune cookie once said, “Better a has-been than a never-was. Better a never-was than a never-tried.”
BOOM. (Tweet that!)
Excuse #7: I need perfect conditions.
Quiet house, waves crashing in the distance, someone feeding me grapes, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I have a toddler. And for a little bit longer, I still have a part-time day job while launching my business. Quiet, peaceful times are few and far between around here. We do live in Hawaii, but I don’t hear any waves crashing ’round these parts.
It’s great to have a dedicated space to work – to have music, light refreshments, and a comfy chair to get you in the zone. But sometimes you just gotta make do with what ya got, right? I mean what’s the alternative?
Are you really going to leave your audience hanging because you couldn’t find the perfect zen place this week? No way, Jose! You’ve made a commitment as a professional, and the show must go on.
Commit to making it happen, regardless of your external circumstances.
Excuse #8: I need to do more research first.
As a nerd, I really relate to this one. I don’t want to write anything that’s factually incorrect. I want to tell you information that is accurate, up-to-date, and useful, so I get the “research” trap. But here’s the truth:
What you already know makes you an expert to most of your audience.
You’re blinded by the familiar. You know what you know, but they don’t. To them, you’re a credible source, even if you’re not providing 10 peer-reviewed articles to back up your claims.
Truly – don’t let this one freeze you up. Absolutely do your best to provide only accurate, truthful, helpful information. NEVER throw something out there if you’re not sure if it’s true.
At the same time, don’t feel like every post needs an APA-formatted references page to be worthwhile. It’s just not the case.
Excuse #9: No one’s expecting to hear from me anyway.
(So I don’t “need” to put anything out there.)
This is a pretty good excuse, I gotta say! But there’s an easy vaccine for it: Pull yourself forward. Make a commitment in public.
That’s exactly what I did when I sent my first newsletter to 41 subscribers on April 18. And look what happened a few weeks later. I’m sent this email [note: now it’s a blog post!] to you and over 700 other people who wanted to see what the fuss was all about. It’s cray cray.
So put yourself out there! Tell your audience how often they should expect to hear from you, and they will hold you accountable. It’s the good ol’ peer pressure technique!
Tell them when to expect details on a special offer of yours or what your next post will be about, and then follow through. (Otherwise, you’ll look totally unprofessional and lose their trust. You don’t want that, and they don’t want that.)
You’re on the same team. Let a little social accountability help you grow into the writer you want to be!
Excuse #10: I stink at writing.
It doesn’t sound like me. I need professional help!(!!)
Look. We could all use professional help for one reason or another. But that’s no reason to put our lives on pause until we get it!
This is a loaded topic that I will unpack one week at a time here in my blog, so keep reading.
In the meantime, you’ve got writing to do, so here’s the truth: If you can hire a pro (like me!) to work with you one-on-one to brainstorm, craft, and polish some brilliant content and overall strategy, GO FOR IT. But you don’t NEED to.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE working with my clients and we get some serious(ly fun) work done in our time together, but they don’t NEED me to get content out there. They just prefer having a jolt of word nerd brainpower and a splash of style to speed up the process and make sparkle a bit. I get it.
I touched on this in #6, but it’s worth repeating: Educate yourself and D.I.Y., baby. Take some ownership to improve your skills!
There are SO many resources out there on writing, it’s redonkulous. (I highly recommend this free training series from a certain Communication Stylist you know…)
Learn how to get better and START.
Honorable Mention: The dog ate my keyboard.
I have nothing to say about this except for it’s awesome and I had to include it. Thanks for the submission, Rob ;)
You can do this, friend. As a matter of fact, you really HAVE to.
Seriously. We need to hear from you, so cut the excuses. You’re WAY better than all 10.5 of them.
And if you know of a friend or three who needs to have this excuse-slayin’, e-slap in the face on tap, please do ’em a favor and share the (tough) love.
But then….get to typin’.
Make yourself sit down. Set a timer. And write something. Anything. It could be an outline, it could be a few sentences. Could be deep thoughts on what you had for lunch. Just get something on the page.
Who knows? Maybe the muse is visiting your ‘hood after all.
This Week’s Homework
Here’s what I want you to do now that all of your best excuses have been obliterated:
- Share this post with the excuse-makers in your life.
- Take an honest look at your writing to-do list.
- Pick ONE task you’ve been avoiding for at least a week.
- DO IT. Sit your booty down and write a first draft.
- EXTRA CREDIT: Come share the scoop on my Facebook page. I want to celebrate with you!
Readddyyyyyy – BREAK!
Go get ’em, tiger. I’ll be waiting :)
Your sister in syntax,