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Thursday, December 28, 2017

The "Perfect Timing" Trap

Today is my oldest son’s birthday, and if you’re one of those people who have a holiday birthday, then you know how challenging it can be to find the perfect time to celebrate a birthday. Especially when a kid is at that age when he wants a party and all his friends around and a big whoop-de-doo time.

The holiday break is no good because half the friends are gone. Before Christmas, it’s way too hectic for a mother to plan a birthday party. Or maybe that was just this mother. Anyway, we’d wait a week or two, figuring that would be the perfect time. But school was back in full gear and so we’d wait another week, for things to settle down. That would be the perfect time, surely. But then we’d be into February and it would be way too cold for anything fun and outdoors and so we’d wait a few more weeks. The perfect time was right around the corner in March.

You see where this is going, right? My oldest son had two—TWO!--whoop-de-doo parties when he was young. We were caught in that “Perfect Timing” trap. Waiting for the perfect time, we’d never quite get around to celebrating much at all.

Writers—including this writer—often get caught in the “Perfect Timing” trap. We’ll write when the baby takes a nap. Or when the kids are at school and we finish making beds, washing clothes, painting that bookshelf. Or when we start working part-time. Or when we retire. Or when our kid who’s moved back home ever moves out.

Yep, we have a million reasons why the timing is not right to write.

And I’ll bet you can see where this is going, too. There is no such thing as the perfect time for writing. There will always be something or someone coming along to give us a perfectly good reason not to write. And before you know it, it’s been weeks, months, years, since you’ve written much at all.

Now, there surely are times when events or situations in our lives legitimately prevent us from writing. And there are times when the people in our lives truly need us, and those are times when writing must wait. But following these times away from writing, it’s very easy to wait for the perfect writing time to come again.

It’s not going to come.

So before 2018 begins, let’s take a few moments to go over all the reasons we put off writing in 2017. Because honestly, Oldest Junior Hall spent years whining about how his mother neglected his birthday and his mother might’ve spent years feeling just a wee bit guilty about it.

Join me and break free from the “Perfect Timing” trap in 2018 (and live a more guilt-free writing life)!

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer and she vows that there will be no more waiting for the perfect time to write in 2018. She might even get around to having another birthday party for her oldest son. But honestly, she's not making any promises about that one. You can see what Cathy did manage to get done in 2017 at her blog, and keep up with her in the new year, 'cause it's going to be busy! Probably!


  1. Cathy--When I put off writing, I remember that we make time for what matters to us.

    Don't we all have at least 10 or 15 minutes every day to write?

    I think so.

    (My daughter's birthday is Dec. 21. She got cheated out of celebrations sometimes.)

    I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you. May you end up monopolizing ALL of the Korean children's book market.

  2. Yes, I suppose that true. I love that Joey Hall but I must admit I'm not a big fan of whoop-de-doo parties--even though he remembers them well and they ended up being a lot of fun!

    Writing's like that, too, when we put it off and get back to it...we wonder why we weren't writing before--it's so much fun! :-)

    I don't know about monopolizing any markets--I'll take just cracking into a market! Best to you and your writing in 2018, too!

  3. You are so right, we have to make time to write. I am always amazed in January after the December lull, that my enthusiasm returns.

  4. SO true, Cathy! I tend to do the perfect time thing with a lot of stuff, so this post is a great reminder to just do it! That's my goal for 2018--put in the work and the rest will come. Thanks for this. :)

  5. What is it about sons expecting those "whoop-de-doo" parties? I have a daughter and son, and because he was born on Superbowl Sunday he expects a heck of a party, LOL! My daughter never asks for much, and that fits her personality. Thanks for the reminder that there is no perfect timing. If that were the case I wouldn't get squat done, ever!

  6. "Yep" again. Don't you ever get tired of being right?


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