Writer's Life: Guilt

Guilt, Guts, and Glory--the three G's of the writer's life. The longer I write, the more I realize aspiring writers are a unique group of people--especially in the guilt we bear, the guts to dare, and the glory so rare.

Lately, GUILT has followed me around like the bubonic plague. Last week my twelve year old son said, "Mom, all you ever do anymore is write." I promptly swallowed the rising lump of guilt and replied, "Now honey, you know that's not true. I still have to eat and sleep every once in a while."


The truth was that my son has noticed a change in the amount of time I spend writing, especially in the past two months. It all started in May after I finaled in the ACFW Genesis contest (read about it here). I had a marathon weekend to revise my contest entries before having to return them for the final round of judging.

Then shortly after the contest final, agent Rachelle Gardner gave me The Call (read about it here). A new set of pressures fell upon my shoulders. I needed to complete one of my two books, finish the professional edits on both, and then write an enormous book proposal.

Most recently, I had to write another short proposal for a third new book. This included synopsis, hook, character sketches, and sample pages. I had about a week to work magic (and in that week I also had my son's birthday celebration and a 4th of July party!).

Yes, the amount of time I've spent on writing related work has increased during the past two months. But do I spend ALL my time writing, as my son accused me in his lovable but snarky way?

Some days are definitely filled with more writing than others (like when I've had deadlines). But mostly, what my family has noticed is that my writing has become more important to me, more apart of my life, and that perhaps I spend less time doing some of the things I used to do--like baking homemade muffins or planting flowers.

If I start to view my writing as a career, not just a hobby, then in some ways I have to consider myself employed and have a mindset that writing is my job. I'm starting to adjust, but perhaps my children will need more time, along with plenty of reassurance that even if I have to change some of my priorities, my family is still tops.

Why is it more difficult for others to accept writing as a valid career choice? Is it because we're unpublished? Not earning a substantive income? Working from home? Is it because it takes so long to see tangible results? Finish a book? Get an agent? Is it because the goal of getting published often seems so unattainable, much like a dream?

Or is it because we don't have enough confidence in ourselves and our abilities? Enough to shed the plague of guilt?

Why do you think non-writers have a difficult time validating writing as a career choice for unpublished authors? And what do you do to shed your guilt?

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