There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Friday, March 9, 2012

Guilty When I Do and Guilty When I Don’t!

I write M-F, but I don’t usually write on the weekends. I use the weekends to read and replenish my mind and hang out with my loved ones just like many M-F workers do. But when I take these days off, I feel so guilty! I feel like I should be writing all the time so I can improve and get that much closer to publication. I don’t know of many jobs where people feel guilty when they’re off on the weekends. It seems special to us writers only. Hooray. 
But writers have two kinds of guilt: when we’re not writing, and when we are writing! Now what’s up with that? I lose track of time when I’m writing; it goes by so quickly when I’m immersed in a story. 
Part of this zigzagging journey is overcoming the struggles, so here are two ways I deal with my writer’s guilt:
Journal Writing. Though I put aside my wip(s) on the weekends, I still write in my journal. Journal writing helps me relax and I often generate ideas for my wip and future writing projects without consciously doing so. I also do writing prompts and exercises in notebooks on the weekends. It keeps me warmed up for the writing week ahead and I’m doing something creative each day. I’m keeping my imagination active while resting my eyes from the glaring laptop screen.
Setting Alarm. I have a big obnoxious pink watch that’s not appropriate to wear on a job interview. Or anywhere in public but sometimes I do anyway! I changed its settings so the alarm beeps every hour. It jolts me from my writing reverie and reminds me to look at the clock and do things like eat chocolate, drink water, return phone calls, feed my husband, eat more chocolate.
Do you feel guilty on the days you don’t write and when writing infringes on your other obligations? How do you deal? 
Happy weekend, Zigzaggers!!!

20 comments:

Cristina said...

YES!

I feel guilty when I'm writing because I *should* be spending that time playing with the kids.

I feel guilty when I'm not writing, or maybe it's more of an angsty feeling... like I really just want to be writing instead of cooking, cleaning, hanging out with friends/family... and THEN I feel guilty because I should be more present in these other moments of my life instead of thinking about writing all the time, LOL

SA Larsenッ said...

I used to feel more guilty. But over the last three years since I've been writing seriously, I've discovered that making time for life gives us new breath as writers. We grow.

Journal writing is a great activity!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I do feel guilty when I don't write. But when I say don't write, I mean anything pertaining to my novels. Writing blog posts on the weekend doesn't count. Trying to figure out the best way to rearrange my scenes does.

I used to be a drug rep and felt guilty if I wasn't doing work on the weekends. Not because I loved my job. I didn't. But because I knew there were individuals who were putting in the time. But I'd already worked 45-50 hours during the week and was burned out. I needed the weekend for my family so I could recharge.

Julie Dao said...

I feel very guilty when I don't write. If I have free time and I'm using it to relax - even if it's much-needed relaxation - I get this feeling like I should be working on my WIP!

Bluestocking said...

I'm the same way. I feel guilty when I'm not writing and instead am surfing the interwebs and reading blogs etc. And I feel guilty when I am writing because there's probably laundry and dishes and errands to do. But I've decided the writing is worth it over the other stuff, so it's just a matter of ensuring that each day I'm moving forward in that goal. Even if it's the weekend and I'm replenishing the well for Monday. Happy writing!

Rachna Chhabria said...

I feel very guilty the days I am not able to write. Its on those days that I try to do writing related activities like reading, critiquing and correcting my students' assignments.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes, a little.
And like you, I feel guilty when I AM writing. It's a no win situation. LOL

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, Laura, I wish I got so deep into it that I needed your pink watch! I have guilt when I DON'T write, which has been way too often lately. :-)

Karen Strong said...

Ha, I can barely think on the weekdays because of my day job so I usually get most of my writing done on the weekends.

I have learned that I just have to cut myself some slack until I can accomplish my goal of being "A Woman of Leisure" -- so far that goal remains very out of reach. :-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

On days when I don't write, I try to *think* about my book a little (in the car, getting ready for the day, etc.) Or just absorb words and characters when I'm out running errands. To me, that's writing, too.

DL Hammons said...

I think we need to see pictures of this giant pink watch!! :)

Madeleine Maddocks said...

LOL! We should be enjoying our writing. I once read that guilt is the least productive of all emotions.
Don't feel guilty. Enjoy your days off and those when your are productive.

I admit I feel guilty I don't write enough publishable stuff, though.

BTW I've tagged you for this Sunday.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Right now I feel bad for my wife that blogging and book promotion have taken up so much of my life. And I do need to start working on my third book. Real soon!

Jemi Fraser said...

It's tough to find that balance. I don't have any set schedule - I just do what I can when I can. It mostly even works :) Enjoy your weekend!

Margo Berendsen said...

I maybe feel a tiny bit guilty, but not really :) If I have a really good writing streak, I emerge from it so happy that I think my family benefits from it overall

Indigo said...

Yes and No...

Even when I'm not writing, I'm still weaving story plots and character woes in my head. Although it would be nice to get more wordage typed, I realize the time I don't is perfect for thinking things through. (Hugs)Indigo

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, everyone!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my posts last week! I was out of town (snowboarding in Vermont, woohoo!) and unplugged for the week. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and I'll be catching up with all of you this week. Hope your writing is going well!! <3 Laura

Kristin Rae said...

Oh I'm guilty when I write and when I don't. We are weird, aren't we?! LOL.

It's a great idea to be consistent with writing prompts, good for you! I always forget about them. (And I'd probably feel guilty for focusing on one instead of my WIP ;)

Susanne Drazic said...

I don't feel guilty when I write, but I have big time guilts when I don't. I also have some guilt when I sit down to watch a TV show, but that has been somewhat solved by DVRing it and watching it while I do my couponing or mending. That way I'm doing two things at once in less time. It's so nice to be able to skip over the commercials. : )

Laura Marcella said...

Kristin- I do prompts during the week but more often on the weekends. The weekends are usually a time for me to spend with my family and friends and experience life so I don't usually work on my wips (other than thinking about them). But I want to stay in the writing groove to prompts help with that! I like to use my own characters and settings from whatever I'm working on.

Susanne- I dislike commercials so that's awesome to be able to fast forward them with DVR! And that's great you only have one-way guilt!!