The Escape Clause

I can’t wait till I have time to write. I’ve said that as much as anyone. The problem is, that time never seems to materialize. That’s why we need to learn how to use the escape clause.

The escape clause is a simple idea, when put into action, can create the time you need to write. The reason I mention it being simple is, I need to learn how to use it as much as anyone.

I learned about the escape clause while attending several writing conferences last year. Every session I sat in had information that I found important to my writing. Some information wasn’t pertinent to my interest. But I kept noticing every presenter shared two common admonitions. You have to make time to write. And to write well, you need to read.

So I came up with what I call the escape clause. The escape clause is the permission we give ourselves to set aside time each day to read or write. After a while “permission” morphs into “requirement,” which needs to be done every day, regardless of whatever else is going on.

We can all find easy excuses to put off writing. Dishes need washing. Lawn needs mowing. Longmire is on TV. But they are only excuses. Essentially, we give ourselves permission to do something besides writing or reading.

Not everyone has a treasure trove of ideas for stories that would compel them to sit down and start writing. Sometimes it takes prompts from sources outside ourselves to get us going. Such as writing contest, or writing assignments from a writing group.

But everyone has a life story worth telling that’s rolling around in their memory banks. If you don’t have a story in mind or a novel plot to hash out, sit down and start writing the memories of your life and the people in them. You’ll be surprised at the story ideas can be gleamed from your own life.

In the meantime, read books that cover the genre you hope to write in. Other writers stories can spark ideas in our mind that we most likely would never have dreamed about writing.

A big plus is learning how someone else tells a story that holds a readers interest. After all, that’s what we hope to do with our stories.

Use the escape clause and rewire your mind about time-management. Reading good writing by others will go a long way toward making us better writers. Remember, the only thing you need is permission from ourselves to do just that. The escape clause provides you with that permission.


Gary RodgersGary Rodgers enjoys writing short stories and sharing tales from his childhood. Saving into written stories the tales he grew up listening to around camp fires and living rooms is his way of passing on a tradition. Contest writing helps him improve his craft, and he says it’s a lot of fun.

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