Dealing With Writer’s Guilt

Anyone else suffer from guilt pangs over the hubby, the house, responsibilities? Or do quirky little things to relieve the guilt for investing in writing that doesn’t pay the same in return? (Yet!)

Guilt over using time needed for other things, I modify my schedule. In my mind, writing early in the morning before anyone gets up equals to not taking anything away from them. Or late at night when everyone is asleep. But sometimes I’m just getting into a really steamy love scene when my husband wakes up in the bed next to me. Instant guilt.

Shame on you! Not that kind! He happens to look quite romantic in the subdued blue-green glow of the laptop perched on my knees. Guilt strikes when he croaks in that sleep-deprived voice that’d make froggies jealous, “It’s okay, honey. You didn’t wake me. Go ahead and write.” I’d catch his eyes to judge his sincerity, but they keep rolling back in his head. And if I’m really determined and try to pick one to stare into, I lose focus by dithering over which one to chase. They tend to wander independently around the room at three AM while he struggles to communicate.

My husband is my greatest supporter, yet it seems he’s the one most affected when my writing consumes me.

So I do things to alleviate that guilt. I cook his favorite meals for him. He bought me what he calls his “little red insurance policy” for my hot tea: The cutest candy apple electric kettle with automatic shut-off. Can’t forget one of those on the stove, boil it dry and smoke the house up.

I made the conscious decision to set aside particular hours for regular housekeeping. I think he’s finally catching on my amazing soccer skills with the grandkids stem from tearing through the house just before company arrives and kicking things out of sight.

I stretch supplies as far as possible. Lately I’ve noticed that on special occasions I still get flowers and candy, but there’s the subtle, and thrilling, inclusion of a sexy black ink cartridge every now and then. Hubby must have noticed me banging them on the desk to get that last few pages out of them. I love an observant man.

I refuse to buy new equipment until I get all the goodie out of the old. Example: my trackball mouse. If bumped, or tilted too far, all I need is a feathered tricorn, eye patch and pair of black boots with a dagger stuck in the top and I’m reenacting Pirates of the Caribbean scenes. The ones where the young pirate keeps having to chase his wooden eye as it bounces across the deck. Sometimes I really have to scramble because if the cats realize it’s loose, things turn into a combination game of keep-away-from-mama and cat hockey.

Hubby got tired of telling me to get another one. Last time I was butt in the air to dig the ball out from under the couch he lost it. I’d just popped the ball back into the body when he snatched it away from me, yanked open the front door and used the cord to whip it in three good circles for momentum before slinging it into the yard. He closed the door so I wouldn’t have to watch as our dogs closed in on it. (We’re both redheads, but he tries to protect me from the uglier things in life.) He glared as he dusted his hands and proclaimed; “Now you have to buy a new one!”

Silence ensued. We both heard something. His words being punctuated by the diminishing PING, PING, ping, pingpingpingping of the ball bouncing merrily down the hallway. All it took was eye contact for us to break into hysterical laughter during the drive to the office supply store.

Laughing is the best guilt relief of all. And I’ve discovered a new, totally unexpected guilt relief for me.

Recycling: The cats have a new toy.

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2 Responses

  1. LOL, I try not to think about it. My husband hunts and he hunts amost every night of the week so my guilt over my writing is nothing when it comes to him. Now if he didnt hunt, I might feel guilty but oh well. My kids are the ones that I feel guilty about sometimes and yes I try to make it up to them. I buy books and we read at night before bedtime, I stop and get them something here and there to make them feel important. Now in the afternoons we spend time outside sliding and swinging.

  2. I LOVE the mouse story and the fact that the kitties have a mouse to play with now! LOL! I don’t have guilt about my writing. It has been a part of me so long that the kiddos pass me by, pat me on the head and say, “another book or a short story?” I spend as much time as I can with them as I know how fleeting that time is but they are older now and they have their own stuff going on so writing keeps old mom from being lonely. Hubby is a fisherman and a 2nd level black belt so he is off doing his thing most of the time and let’s not talk about TAX SEASON when he is never home.

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