Writer’s Block is easy enough to understand.
Writer’s Guilt, however, is a bit different.
Writer’s Block passes—sometimes like a kidney stone, but it passes. But Writer’s Guilt lingers. At least it does for me.
Writer’s Guilt is when you, as a writer, find yourself in a rare moment of calm, of relaxation, of repose, but you are not writing. And the fact that you, as a writer, are not writing in spite of the fact that you have time to do so, makes you feel guilty.
So…that being said…the obvious solution is to just write. Right?
See, you think writing will help. But that’s being logical and—
Because as soon as you start writing, you notice how many dishes are piling up in the sink. You notice how grimy the surface of your floors are. The piles of clothes you have strewn about your bedroom are growing in size, resembling more of a burgeoning village than a cluster of used clothing.
You say you will do a few dishes. You will sweep for a few minutes. Then, once all of it is done, you will return to your bed and realize you now have to wait until after your shift tomorrow before you can even think of starting to pick up where you left off in your story, blogpost, manifesto, etc.
Some of you might think “Oh, well, all your chores will be done tomorrow because you finished them the day before. Tomorrow you’ll have more time to do your writing!’
We’re adults. There is always something else we have to do. Writing is a frivolous activity that distracts us as much as it nourishes our souls. How dare you even consider it a possibility that I could be done with all that needs doing?
Instead I will gorge myself on a steady diet of stops and starts, writing a couple of paragraphs here and there before remembering all the bills I need to pay, or the tags I need for my car.
Writer’s Guilt is a Catch-22. You’re damned if you write and you’re damned if you don’t.
But maybe that’s just the price we have to pay. Frivolity for the sake of purging our brains of all the creative residue. Perhaps Writer’s Guilt is nothing more than another manifestation of procrastination, a way for us to put off our creative endeavors in favor of doing pedestrian, more achievable tasks.
I don’t know.
I just write here.
2 thoughts on “Writer’s Guilt: You Should Be Writing….or Should You?”
Interesting. I just did a blog post related to this. Is writing an act of self-indulgence, or duty? When you go to do the chores, are you being responsible, or are you avoiding?
Regarding the stops and starts, though, don’t despair. I have found that when I go away after writing 400 or 500 words, and then I come back, the world is still there, and the action is still going on. I know some writers say you have to write every day (even at the same hour every day) if you expect the Muse to show up reliably, but that has never been a possibility for me. I’ve always been super disorganized, plus now I am a busy mom. I find that my subconscious takes care of it. Hope yours does too.
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It does when I try to be more consistent lol. Thanks Jennifer 🙂
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