Overcoming Writer's Guilt


I put a lot of pressure on my writing and, as a result, myself. This time of the year doubly so because of Nanowrimo.

I do it in the mornings before work, chastising myself that I didn't get up earlier to write even though I (and the rest of the world) know very well that I'm not remotely awake enough to write before 9am. I've tried it before. I'm not meant to be a member of the 5am writers club.

I do it at night when I'm too exhausted to see straight but shouldn't I be writing just a little more? I even do it when I'm ill and I decide this should be the ideal time to be writing.

I do all of this in between actually writing and I'm sure it can't be healthy so here's a five step plan I came up with to help myself combat the guilt.

Avoiding writer's pressure

  • Know that you're not alone. I do know this but I suppose this one is more about accepting the knowledge into your heart. Everyone feels guilt. Everyone puts pressure on themselves.
  • Turning off. I work online all day, so sometimes my own guilt about writing seems to be fuelled by days spend surfing the waves of the web. Sometimes switching off for half an hour is all I need to feel renewed.
  • Stopping. This one is the hardest. How do you break the cycle of a lifetime? It's also the most important. When I'm feeling anxious I tell myself that thoughts are cars and I don't have to get into them today. Guilt is a car I can let drive by if I focus, if I practice, if I breathe.

How do you not feel guilty when you're not writing?

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