Guilt is something I’m well accustomed to. It’s a feeling I’ve experienced as a busy mom who doesn’t always have time to get everything done AND spend quality time with my kids. I’ve felt guilt as a horse owner whose time to ride diminished after the birth of my children. And of course, I’ve felt the kind of guilt that most inevitably feel after eating half a bag of chips in one sitting. Or when I use plastics that can’t be recycled. Sadly, guilt is nothing new to me.
But my newest reason for this unwelcome emotion is related to writing. More specifically, writing books.
The other day, I read an article posted on Facebook about the difference between what goes on in women’s vs. men’s brains. How we, women, tend to overthink everything and have trouble shutting off the constant flow of thought. We stress over little things while our husbands often shrug it off or don’t even worry about it in the first place (like family scheduling, to-do lists, and what we’ll wear to that meeting tomorrow.) The author of the article was also a mom, as well as a writer. So I totally understood where she was coming from.
When some lady commented (on FB) that she didn’t feel sorry for the author because she didn’t really work, I couldn’t help but respond: “Didn’t you read that she has a job? She’s a writer.” The author had even said she traveled occasionally because of her job. The Facebook woman responded with the infuriating “LOL”.
Because everyone knows writing isn’t a real job, right?
This notion is something I’ve struggled with all too often. And thus the reason for my writer’s guilt.
Even my own family has asked me what I do all day. Because I couldn’t possibly be working if I’m just on my computer. I must be playing around (which I’ll admit–I do check my social media sites several times a day. But so do most people at work from what I hear.) However, I also use social media to network and grow my platform. I have a FB page for my horse blog, on which I share articles and other posts daily. I also have a new Bazay Editing page, which I’m trying to keep up with as well. Then, there’s Twitter–which is how I stay connected with many of my writer friends. Social media can be work-related too, people!
But I digress. . .
Writer’s guilt is real. And I have a feeling I’m not the only person who suffers from it. When I think about the hours upon hours I’ve spent working on my three books, I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve stuck with it. But I’m also filled with a certain uneasiness. Those are all hours I could have spent working. As in, the earning-money-kind-of-work.
At the same time, I know that I’ve got to put in the time if I ever want to make it as a novelist. It’s quite the conundrum.
It’s not that I want to stop putting in this time on my books. Each book has been better than the last (as far as the quality of my writing goes). But at some point, I would really love to see at least one of them pay off in some way. I’m sure every writer feels the same way.
For now, I guess I will deal with my guilt the way any addict does.
I’ll just keep writing.
And I’ll keep on believing that one day, all this WORK will actually pay off.