i paint i write

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Does everything have to be perfect to write?

I can't concentrate on writing, the grass needs to be raked.

Usually I write the first thing in the morning. I wake up with an idea and write my story at 5:00 a.m., right after I feed the cats. I have tried to write before I feed the cats, but they walk all over the keyboard and I can’t see the screen.

Today I went for a walk after I fed the cats.

The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.
Alan Dean Foster

Now I am writing, but I can see the grass needs to be raked when I look outside the window. The grass was really long  when my husband cut the grass Monday night. Clumps of  grass were left piled on top of the cut grass. We don’t bag our grass. We cut and rake.

I know I should keep writing, but all I want to do is put on my gardening gloves and rake the lawn.

Does everything have to be perfect to write? I don’t have to look outside. The grass won’t distract me.


Today I don’t want to write, I want to rake.

I raked the lawn.

I can't concentrate to write, I will rake the lawn.

Now I am back inside writing. The television is on. I can’t concentrate on writing when I can hear the characters laughing in the other room.

I unplugged my computer and took it upstairs to my bedroom. My room is over the garage, it is quiet. There is no television to distract me, no outside yard work to distract me.

My bed is not made. I should make my bed first and then I will write.

I can't concentrate on writing, my bed is not made.

Actually I should do my laundry and wash all the windows and edge the lawn and sort through all my clothes and clean out the basement and call my mother and climb Mount Everest and paint all the bedrooms lime green and wash all the walls and clean out the seven litter boxes and sew new curtains and sweep the kitchen floor and drive to California and learn how to knit and then and then I can concentrate on writing.

What about you? Does everything have to be perfect to write?

P.S. I refuse to make the bed. I have a deadline at midnight today to submit to The Early to Rise Experience for Moms. You can sign up here to register for a free copy when the Women’s edition of Early to Rise is published. I may be in the book. But I won’t be in the book if I don’t finish editing my submissions.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • I like this post. It is easy to get distracted. But I do like to have a rest from writing – if I write all the time it totally drains me, and if I’m rushing to a deadline it makes me panic, and I produce crappy work. Whenever I write to any kind of deadline I always panic and rush through my work. Even if the deadline is next year, I will still in my head be panicking and worrying about meeting the deadline.

    I am procrastinating right now. I have been collecting my stories for new book, which I have planned to release next July. I have planned dates for draft completion, final completion, and the release date. I have accountability for it even. But in my mind I’m panicking about it, worried about it, thinking it’s not going to be good enough, almost self-sabotaging myself to make sure it’s not as good as it could be, so it meets my own expectations of failure. I almost subconsciously sabotage myself to fail because I expect to, because I can’t accept I can be a success, because I don’t want to be arrogant and an asshole about being success, and procrastination is part of this. I am so in the habit of self-sabotage I almost do it subconsciously. Deadlines almost don’t scare me because I expect to fail.

    I feel I’m always writing what I have to write. The book I’m writing is something on my heart, something God is speaking to me about, something I am passionate about and really want to share, but it also feels like a great big burden, like God has given me this to share and I’m not capable of carrying it. It shouldn’t be this way but it is.

    I love writing, and I love sharing my work, but it’s all become a burden, it’s all become an obligation rather than a joy. Some days, I actually want to not write, but I feel I have to otherwise I will fall behind everyone else, and I will fail, just like I expect. I feel like I’m competing with everyone else, rather than just writing out of love.

    I still love writing. But I love writing without any obligation to anyone else, even myself. I guess this is the step up to being professional, and it’s a struggle. I want to grow as a writer, I want to push myself and write great work, I want to become a pro, but I also feel like it’s all weighing me down. Does any of this make sense?

    • “Some days, I actually want to not write, but I feel I have to otherwise I will fall behind everyone else, and I will fail, just like I expect. I feel like I’m competing with everyone else, rather than just writing out of love.”
      James, writing is not a competition. There is no one to fall behind, because you are running alone. It is your writing. There is no one to compete with.
      And you can’t “become a pro” because all ready are.
      Smile James, and enjoy the process.

      • I know it’s not a competition Pamela, but it often feels like one – it feels like all of life is a competition. I wish I could just be intentional and be just me in my writing, rather than worry about everyone else. But it’s difficult. Amazed & encouraged you think I’m a pro already – thanks for all the encouragement, I really do appreciate it and will bear it in mind.

  • Paul Blais

    Great post. I am amazed at how difficult it is to get past the distraction of myself. You described the struggle so well. I long to be a writer (here is a sample: http://paulblais.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-ocean.html), and yet I tend, like your post says, to find everything else that ought to be done instead.
    Love it..
    Paul Blais

  • Shelley

    Oh, shades of “Turning Pro”!

  • margaret simon

    I can list all those excuses and more. Some days all I want to do is write and life gets in the way. Other days, I get in the way with my abstract randomness. Wait, did I change the kitty litter lately?

    • Thank you for your suggestion. I cleaned the kitty litter in the seven litter boxes and then finished writing.

  • Too funny Pamela! Distractions happen, right?! Or should I say write… Anyway, I look forward to reading your story in Andy’s next book. God bless~

    • Thank you Maria. I submitted the story ideas on time. With an hour to spare.

  • You’re awesome.

  • Love this, Pamela! And yes, I can so relate. 🙂