What's stopping you writing

If you are one of those people who is always claiming you want to write but never get around to it, then read on to find out just how rewarding and fulfilling writing can be. If you have tried before but failed, take a look at the reasons below to see if any are familiar and find out what’s stopping you writing.

I am not a writer

All writers had to start somewhere so don’t let your lack of experience put you off. Writing is a skill which, with practice and determination, can be learned. We provide plenty of help and support on this website and there are numerous books and other sources (online and offline) all offering advice to wannabe writers.

No one will be interested

This is an excuse I have heard many times particularly from family history researchers. I am typically told that no one else in their family is interested in their research but this is probably because they haven’t found a way of presenting it in a way that is accessible. It doesn’t matter what you are writing about, people want to read stories. So why not turn your research or your memories and experiences into stories which can be read and enjoyed by anyone.

I will finish my research first

Whether you are researching your family history, local history, recalling memories or whatever, don’t try to finish your research before you start writing. Research has a tendency to expand to fill the time available and so this typically means it is never finished. There will be points all along the way during your research where you uncover or remember something which is particularly interesting or note worthy so why not take this opportunity to develop it into a short story or article. You never know you may even end up with enough stories for a full-length book.

I don’t know where to start

If you sit down with the intention of writing your complete life story or family history or whatever your chosen genre is, you will probably fail because the task is just too overwhelming and daunting. So why not use the bite-sized approach where you build up your story piece by piece. You will be much more likely to succeed if you adopt this method of writing.

People may laugh at my grammar and spelling

Don’t worry about spelling and grammar when you start scribbling your first draft. However, before you share it with friends and family or the world, do some basic checks to make sure there are no embarrassing errors. Most word processors include spelling and grammar checkers so use these for picking up the more obvious mistakes but don’t rely on them completely because they do have their limitations. A spelling checker only detects whether a word is spelled correctly – not whether it has been used correctly – and recommendations by grammar checkers are not always accurate. So, if you are really concerned about the quality of your writing, ask someone who has some experience of proofreading and/or editing to take a quick look for you.

My writing is unsophisticated

A mistake often made by new or inexperienced writers is that they think their writing should sound intellectual or sophisticated. If this means using long words you are not familiar with or adopting a formal style of writing which does not come naturally to you then don’t do it. You are not aiming to be nominated for a literary prize. Simply write as if you were telling your story to a friend. You can always go back later and polish up what you have written.

I haven’t got the time

There may be a tiny minority of people out there who really don’t have the time but for most people this is just an excuse and in my opinion probably the least persuasive. How many of us really can’t find the odd spare hour or two during the week even if it means getting up a bit earlier, spending a little less time watching TV, trawling the internet, catching up on social media or whatever distractions get in the way of doing something more creative such as writing?

I will wait until I retire

Just like waiting until you finish your research or recalling and collecting your memories, waiting until you retire is not a good idea. You may well indeed have more time when you retire but who knows what is going to happen in the future so stop procrastinating and start creating your unique stories now. If you are already retired then what’s stopping you writing?


What’s stopping you writing – do any of these reasons sound familiar?

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