When Authors Do Too Much
Something my fellow Fierce Romance author Natasha Moore said to me over the summer sparked this blog. She told me she felt guilty about not writing while she was on vacation. It’s a comment that was backed up recently by author (and ex-agent) Nathan Bransford in a blog he titled: When It Feels Like You’re Never Doing Enough.
Writers are the only people I know of who feel guilty about taking a day off. Most people love time away from their job, but for us writers, there’s always a nagging feeling lurking in the back of our minds that “I could be writing right now,” or worse, “I should be writing right now.”
There have been weekends when I’ve sent my husband off to the movies by himself just so I could spend those two hours working on my current WIP. There are nights when I skip sitting beside him on the couch watching Hawaii 5-0 and instead sit in front of the computer (and believe me, it’s damned difficult to give up an hour looking at gorgeous Alex O’Loughlin)!
So how much is too much? How do you find balance between a writer’s life and real life?
I suppose it would be easier if writers could sit at their computer and just turn on a switch to fire up their Muse. If I could work a solid eight hours and get lots of pages written, I wouldn’t feel so guilty about quitting at six o’clock, just like I do at my day job. Maybe it’s because I’m a pantser rather than a plotter that being consistently productive is so uncertain for me. But really, I believe the Muse is a fickle friend. She can’t be told what to do (or when). So when a writer is ‘in the zone,’ it’s a beautiful thing and she is not to be disturbed!
Trouble is, that zone could come at any time, so we have to be ready for it 24/7. Which means family sometimes takes a back seat. Which can make for guilt all around. Guilt that you’re neglecting your most important personal relationships if you write, or guilt that you’re neglecting the creative force that drives us to write if you don’t.
So… How do YOU handle the demands of being a writer?