Thursday, March 17, 2011

Writer's guilt

Lately I've been struck with a bad case of writer's guilt. You know the drill: "You didn't do enough today--you haven't really touched your MS in three days."

That irritating voice is right, but take a look at my countdown clock before you chastise me. I leave for England in three days. Three days!! I've spent the last three days buying incidentals (and a camera), nailing down last minute reservations, and packing. In addition to that, I work 40 hours a week. I didn't take any time off this week so I'd have a cushion when I get back. I simply don't have time to do everything, and my writing is what I've sacrificed.

I know all this, and yet I still feel guilty. I've been up until midnight or 1 AM trying to get everything done, and I still castigate myself for not waking up at the crack of dawn to write.

This guilt is closely connected to the struggle to find time for everything. I blogged about it in January; Hallie Sawyer blogged about it yesterday. It's not a problem unique to writers, but somehow we actually believe we should be able to do it all.

Here's what I've decided: Writing, like everything else in life, is cyclical. You may have months that are so full of writing that you barely read at all. Don't sweat it. When your story lets you go, you'll find the time. And when I get back from England, I'll have time to write. My MS will still be there.