Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Survival Tip #3: Overcoming the Not-Writing Guilt

I don't know about all y'all but I didn't touch any of my manuscripts over the holiday.  Well, at least nothing got done Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I'm such a slacker.  I should've been writing instead of watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.  I could've been writing during that Santa Clause marathon.   Maybe a few pages would've been edited if I spent less time enjoying the holiday and more time utilizing... well, my time.

What it all boils down to is this: I feel guilty when I don't write.

I know I shouldn't.  Writers should get the chance to have a life, too.  But as an unpublished writer, I should be working extra hard to get my books finished and out there in the world.  I'll never get published if I don't put in the time.  Right?

I feel guilty when I let the holidays distract me.  I feel guilty when some unforeseen emergency pulls me away from my work.  I feel guilty when my health effects my writing.

Okay, so maybe this isn't the Survival Tip is ought to be.  Lord knows I haven't been able to overcome the guilt yet.  My notepad and pen sat next to me for two days, staring at me with accusing eyes.  I should've done something

Maybe the only way to overcome the guilt is to just accept that there are going to be times when you don't write, can't write, or won't write.  Holidays are to be enjoyed.  Emergencies are to be dealt with.  And writing when you're sick doesn't do anyone any good.  We should all give ourselves the time we need without the guilt overwhelming us afterwards (or during as is sometimes the case).

So now I leave it up to you.  What do you do to combat the not-writing guilt?  Or are you one the rare birds who can walk away from the work and not feel guilty about it?  If so, how do you do it?


  1. My guilt eats me alive....and then I in turn eat everything in sight....

  2. I hear that, JB. I don't even want to think about stepping on the scale any time soon.

  3. I am hereby declaring this a guilt-free zone! If you pour everything you have into something--if you don't take breaks--if guilt consumes you when you take a little time off, guess what?!? YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG! That said, getting over the guilt is a tough hurdle. Keep in mind, though, that writing is a job. Yes, it can also be a guilty pleasure. It can be a need and a want. It can be satisfying and fun. But bottom line, published or not, it's a job. And every job I've ever had builds in vacation time. If you don't take it, you'll get burned out. Trust me. The burned-out hulk of a writer is not a pretty sight. Muses need time to frolic. Fingers and wrists need time to recuperate from the stress of pounding a keyboard or gripping a pen.

    My dad was a very wise man and the one piece of advice I heard most often from him was this: SET ASIDE SOME DREAMING TIME.

    How else do we keep the imagination vital--the well running with sparkling ideas instead of drying up because we've dipped into it one too many times?

    So take some time off. Let your imagination relax. Trust me, your Muse will love you for it. Iffy is nudging me to get back to work. I want a few more days. By then, she'll be offering ME chocolate and hawt men and stamping her tantrum foot in anticipation. Oh, the plans I have for her...the dreams I'be been dreaming...all guilt free.

  4. You tell 'em, Silver. But yeah, getting past the guilt is a bitch. I hope you and Iffy have a wonderful time once you get back to work. =o)


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