Why My Writing is Like Being Late to an Exam

I’ve got three exams this semester. So far I’ve been late to two of them.

I’m usually really punctual. No, really.

It’s just that occasionally, I’m glad to have one of the best affinities for excuses. The one time I was late to high school, I escaped detention by apologetically explaining that there had been a traffic accident on our road. That’s right: no detention. Yeah, I’m a pretty bad girl. I really shouldn’t get away with the things I wriggle out of. I am genuinely mortified by my own actions sometimes, which haunts me to redeem myself by paying extra attention to mothers who might need help getting their prams onto and off public transport.

Anyway, as I was hurrying to my exam, ten minutes late, I rehearsed a gazillion excuses. Most were ridiculous. I don’t even know why I considered them. Maybe for the same reasons I write ridiculous stories without much reason. The excuses rattled on and on in my cranium.

Of course, I didn’t need them. I go to uni. Running late? Just walk in and take a seat. You’re just starting a little later than others, and I was cocky enough to gamble that no matter how I did in the exam, I’d finish it with time to spare.

And I did. I finished it. It was a fair exam, not too hard but not easy either. As usual, this was an exam I’d studied for in the last minute. To be honest, I believe I’ll pass. Not well but enough. Even though I’d been procrastinating 74% more than I was studying; even though I came in late; even though I was concocting irresponsible excuses for my list of petty sins… I still sat the exam and I didn’t completely botch it. I know – I’m a lazy cheat.

In other words:

I’ll waste my time on silly things. Come on, it doesn’t take that long to untangle my hair… or does it? And why was I even playing with in the first place when I pride it the way a pony prides its tail?!

I’ll never prepare as much as I should. I’ll keep myself complacent by reading and if I really feel hopeless I’ll pick up a book about writing and pretend I’m getting somewhere. (I am. Just sloooowwlllyyyy).

I’ll be late to the show. We’re talking years late. It’s already been 12 months since I came up with my current Project Ark idea. Sorry pet, you’ll have to get used to waiting.

I’ll make excuses for myself. Creative ones, dumb ones, recycled ones, cliched ones. I’ll think about every story under the sun except for my own. It makes me start to miss it. It makes me want to breathe life into it, want to milk the creativity from my excuses and pour them into a tall glass called a novel.

So I’ll make a mad scramble. I’ll hit something special. It might be amazing, it might be crap. Either way It’ll fuel me to type out more crap. But at least it doesn’t smell. Yet.

And in the end I won’t have perfection. Yet the simple act of finishing that belated story, walking that long, convoluted road to Almost Nowhere, I’d feel pretty good.

Then it hits me that this process doesn’t just happen once. It happens for every. single. scene.


And that, kids, is what not to do. Or is it too late?

Anne Tyler

Fun fact: One very sad scene in a Korean drama was butchered in the making of this quote.


And finally…

Over 100 of you have humbled me by following Plotting Bunnies! Thank you all so much! Every view honestly makes my day. So here’s another huuuugeee thanks, with all the sincerity I saved from my excuses. I hope I don’t bore you guys too quickly, haha.


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