I get up at 6 AM, write for two hours, go jogging, take a shower, write some more. After 10 AM, I switch to taking care of my business and working with my clients until around 6 PM. I sometimes work on the weekends, but I never let my work intrude on the time I spend with my wife, friends, or family.

Making a living off writing has been thus far the most demanding period in my life, demanding persistence, regularity, and strong work ethic.

But there are times when my work routine falls apart entirely. Like the last two weeks.

I still keep the promises I made, and deliver on the things I committed to, but everything else has shifted from essential to merely optional. Why? What made me slip? A search for a new apartment in Berlin.

It’s been less than a year since we moved here, but we loved Berlin and decided to stay for the foreseeable future. Meaning, we need a bigger place. The game is afoot.

A metropolis of 3.5 million inhabitants and a property market that moves at a breakneck speed. A couple of thousands of offers spread across five different websites. Trying to sift through it all, in search of that one perfect gem that wouldn’t eat through half our income, means going through at least two hundred offers every day. To make things worse, all landlords have their unique way of calculating rent, so you can’t exactly compare things without opening an excel file. Yeah, landlords are the ones who can pick and choose in Berlin. You get a reply maybe to a third of your queries, days after you’ve asked, only to hear they want your payslips, credit score, and information about how many kids you have.

It’s undignified. And whatever precious little of your dignity is left gets torn to shreds when you finally go for viewing only to find a dozen other couples that are after the same property. Before you know it someone yells “we’ll take it as it is!” and the game is over.

Anyhow, that’s my excuse for being less active recently.

I know I usually talk about things like persistence, regularity because these are qualities worth cultivating, but today I want to talk about excuses.

Obviously, life takes precedence over writing, and you shouldn’t feel bad when it does. However, calling it “life” makes it so big and vast in scale that it’s all too easy to find a headache a good enough excuse to call off your writing session. A headache is only a good enough excuse for taking a pill, or going for a walk, or having sex, anything really that makes you feel better so you can get back to writing.

Have you ever examined all the excuses that make you skip your writing time, or quit mid-way through?

Tell you what, next time you step away from writing, write down what your excuse was. I’m not judging. You will. Complete a list of your usual excuses, and then sort them into great and lousy. You’ll be your own judge (and executor if you’re anything like me).

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