Guest Post - The Top 5 Ways to Solve Writer's Guilt by Shelby Smith

Writing and blogging are some of my favorite pastimes. I love to write, otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. Like most writers and bloggers, I work a full-time job with a long commute, which means I only have time for writing in the hours after work. When my significant other is around, I find myself feeling guilty for spending my time writing in our few hours at home, rather than engaging with him. Instead of writing when I need to, I find my guilt chains me to the couch with him to watch another TV rerun in order to spend time together. Since I’m procrastinating my writing, I feel the writer’s guilt for not writing at all.

Since this was a major issue in my writing and blogging life, I was determined to find a way to rid myself of this version of writers guilt. Today, I am sharing my top 5 tips you can implement in order to get more writing done without feeling guilty for not spending time with your significant other or family.

Announce Your Work Time

Every time I sit down to work on my writing or blogging, I look at my fiancĂ© and tell him, “I’m working on writing this for the next hour.” No matter how long it will take me or what I’m working on, I take time to announce the topic and how long I believe it will take me. Not only does this tell him what I’m working on, but it also gives us a time frame to know when I will be finished. By giving out a time frame, my fiancĂ© can do something he wants to do while I’m working, so we can spend quality time together later. Once the time I’ve announced has passed, I can stop working for the night without feeling guilty for working or feeling guilty for procrastinating.

Create a Regular Routine

Instead of announcing your work time, creating a regular routine would be a great way to set expectations for your family. If you already have a set time you do your writing, then there will be no expectations for you to spend time with them or questions about when you are busy. This will also aid in your writer’s guilt because you will be accomplishing things on a regular basis and have a set schedule for family time. I honestly believe that this is the best solution to avoid any type of writer’s guilt.

Write in Off Times

If you can’t make a regular routine, try writing in “off” times. For example, If the person you want to spend time with goes to bed early, then work after they go to bed. There are always pockets of time that are different between people where certain tasks have to be done. If you can take advantage of time slots where your significant other is already busy, then you won’t feel guilty for writing in their free time. One way I emulate this in my own life is by writing on my lunch break at work. I already have to be here and I wouldn’t be able to spend time with anyone anyway, so I get about 20-30 minutes of work done in an off time.

Maintain a Balance

Are you overworking? Maybe you are feeling guilty because you are working constantly and not spending quality time with others. We all have deadlines that need to be met or goals to achieve, but make sure you have the proper balance. If you are spending all of your time disconnected from others and writing, it may be time to ask yourself if you have a positive work/life balance. If the answer is no, it may be time to reorganize your writing time to spend time with those important to you.

Give yourself a Pep Talk

Personally, I find a lot of my guilt stems from the fact that I believe I need to be available 24/7 when I’m home since I am gone 11 hours every day at work Monday-Friday. When I am home, I feel like I have to make up for all the hours I am working. This isn’t realistic. In order to be sane, everyone needs a creative outlet, which in this case for me is writing. When I’m being hard on myself, I say, “You deserve this time to be creative.”

Therefore, If you have tried all of the above tips, and you still find yourself feeling guilty for writing, give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that “you deserve this time to be creative.”

Trust me, you do even if you don’t believe it. Happy writing!

Shelby Smith is the founder of The Writing Addict. Launched in 2017, her blog strives to be a landing page for writers, readers, and established authors. She writes blog posts on a variety of topics including writing tips, writing life, book reviews, and podcast reviews.

When Shelby isn’t writing blog posts for The Writing Addict, she writes creative nonfiction essays that attempt to answer questions dealing with nostalgia and loneliness. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @thewritingaddictblog.