Writer's Road

How to Deal with Writer’s Guilt

Hey BookWyrms,

If you’re like me, and tend to overthink things, then you’ve probably suffered from writer’s guilt. Maybe you’re not even a writer, but you have that one hobby or obligation that just sits in the back of your mind. It creeps up when you least expect it.

Watching Netflix?

You should be writing…

Writing a term paper?

You should be writing… fiction…

Actually writing?

You should be writing your term paper….

It’s constant and it’s awful, but I think it’s something that a lot of us suffer from; feeling guilt for not putting enough energy into something we desperately want to accomplish and also feeling guilt for straying away from other obligations.

I know I lose a lot of time to procrastination because of writer’s guilt. I see the activities that I want to do, and the things that I need to do stand in the way of them. Rather than just getting down to business, I can fall into the trap of doing nothing for awhile because I don’t want to do the chorish (I like that it rhymes with whorish) activities, but I feel too guilty to do the things that I actually want to do before the work is done. It’s why I don’t write as fast as I would like to, why I can’t stay on top of this blog 100% of the time, and why my 40k armies aren’t fully painted.

So here’s some tips if you find yourself falling into the trap of writer’s guilt, even if writing isn’t your kink.

Stop Procrastinating! Prioritize!

I like to-do lists. If it’s on a list, and I physically have time to do it, I get it done. Put everything you need to do in the week on paper and prioritize them. Make sure that you knock out the tough stuff first so once you’re done, you don’t have to feel guilty about doing whatever you want to do. I like to knock out my homework early in the week so that the weekend is free for writing and blogging. Because here’s the thing: you don’t have to write every day. You don’t have to hobby every day. Get all that work out of the way early in the week (or just early in the day) so that once you’re done, you’re free and clear.

Use a Timer

I also really like timers. Figure out what a reasonable amount of time is for each activity, and break it into chunks. If I’m really cramming in as much homework into a day as a can, then I like to set a 45 minute timer for homework and then a 15 minute timer for a break. Some days I keep my Switch next to me and I play Animal Crossing for 15 minutes before setting another 45 minute timer just to decompress, but 15 minutes is a great word sprint. If I don’t have as much going on, then I go by hours. One hour of homework to one hour of writing.

Stop Stressin’

Finally, just let go. Let go of the guilt. Let go of the pressure. As long as you’re getting it all done, don’t let internal pressure ruin the experience for you. I know, I know, that’s easier said than done. I’m no where near a master at this, but if you’re waiting for permission, I hereby give you permission. Enjoy your writing. Enjoy your hobby. Enjoy whatever it is you feel you should be doing right now. If you have the time, then go do it. Right now! If you don’t, then finish whatever is standing in your way. Take breaks. Fill them with something.

Be happy, BookWyrms!

As always, leave me a comment. Do you deal with writer’s guilt? Does it pop up for other activities? How do you deal with it? Want to stay up to date? Sign up for BookWyrm Cove’s Newsletter.