Writer's Guilt is that feeling you have for holing up in your writing space -- and I guarantee you it's a hole or a cave, because if it wasn't, you'd never get anything written.
You hide and for a few hours you write.
Even if you're published, even if you're a famous author, you know that what you write will probably never be read. It's not wasted, but it's a first draft, something that may resemble the final story, but it's not the final story.
Or you revise. God, I hate revision. So if you're like me, you sit cursing in your Writing Cave (creating new curse words like shitballs and hellfuck and madre de mutherfucking dios), hack-hack-hacking until the words are right and you can move off that page and never, never, NEVER look at that piece of dingleshit again (unless an editor asks you to look, in which case it must not have been that bad, eh).
You embrace the art of writing and in doing so you neglect your family. You could be playing with your kids or taking them frog-hunting around the neighborhood. It's frog season, you know, the tadpoles are grown, and last year, around this time, we bagged nineteen -- count em, NINETEEN -- toads a-hopping around the neighborhood.
You neglect little Fluffy, or in my case, Princess Daisy, our Pomeranian who sits in my lap as I write. Let's not mention Nicki the ball-crazy Corgi. He's too nuts to sit in my cave with me.
You neglect your chores, dinner, put off getting dressed or showered or nibbling your sweetie pie. (I don't put off that last part. Hell, yesterday I stopped mid-sentence to nibble on her.)
You delay all these things in lieu of WRITING.
And if you're like me -- and I bet you are -- you feel guilty.
You feel like you should be doing all those other things, that your family is more important, that the Corgi deserves a good ball-throw in the yard, and wouldn't that be more fun than banging out another 750 words on this goat-fucking story that SUCKS, and you hate the voice, the tone, the main character, and... well, your mind bends back to the keyboard and you peck out another 750 words and 200 to grow on, because you didn't want to stop in an awkward place.
I'm giving you all permission, so here it is: Stop feeling guilty.
I'm lucky because my wife supports my writing. She pokes her head into the cave, kisses me, says, How's it going?
Good. This sucks, so I'm doing it right.
This is the story you're going to publish in the spring, the one with me in it?
Yep, if I can get it fixed. It sucks donkey balls. I hate my life.
I made you a plate.
She hands me the plate she made, the food she cooked, sets down an open beer and says, How much longer?
An hour or so. Thanks for the food and beer. Pick out a movie and we'll watch when I'm done.
Then she picks out a horror blood-fest action flick, and puts her head in my lap while we watch and I drink another beer, and now you all know why I love her so much.
Anyway. The point of all this is that you should NOT feel guilty. Find some balance. Write and be PROUD that you write, no matter what or whose balls it sucks.
Talk to your loved ones about it, help them understand that writing is important to you, and if it's important to you, it will be important to them, no less than would ballet for your daughter or soccer for your son or soccer for your daughter and ballet for your son. If that was what they loved and enjoyed and said, Daddy/Mommy, please, can I do it, I LOVE it!
You'd do it, and you'd be happy for them, especially when they succeed at something they worked so hard to achieve.
Don't feel guilty.
Don't feel guilty.
As they say about good workouts, we can say about good writing: EMBRACE THE SUCK!
And embrace it without the guilt.
Do you feel guilty? Does your family support your writing? Do you have any curse words I can add to my arsenal?
PS: Speaking of WRITING CAVES, have you entered Summer's LAZY BLOGFEST, where you post a picture of your writing area Nov 1. I'll be exposing my cave then, so be prepared.