Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writing, Family and Guilt

I am a constantly guilt-filled person.

This not-so-admirable quality of my personality comes to life particularly when it comes to my family. This past weekend was Family Day weekend here in Ontario. A time when people take time out of their busy lives and focus on family. A provincial holiday was created just to show how important that aspect of our lives is - and should be - in this crazy work-obsessed world we live in. It was also the weekend when my local RWA writing chapter meets. Once a month meetings that I don't get to attend very often usually because of family commitments (read: hockey games!). For once, there wasn't a hockey game. So, I made the mistake of suggesting to hubby that I might like to go to this meeting on Saturday afternoon. He gives me this disappointed look and says, "I thought you'd decided that we were going to spend the day together?" Factor in as well that it was Valentine's Day. Well, needless to say, I did not go to the writer's group meeting. Hubby insisted, go, go. NO way. The guilt I would feel while sitting in a room full of writer's talking about craft and sharing stories only other writers can understand would be so much I wouldn't enjoy the meeting.

So, instead, I spent the day with hubby and various children doing various errands. Nothing big. Nothing momentous. The weekend was spent taking walks, watching movies, doing laundry, having family dinners. Nothing too out of the ordinary. But inside the ordinary were some special moments. Walking along our neighbourhood creek on a sunny, crisp winter afternoon watching the kids skip rocks and the dog stick his nose in crystal clear water. Watching my son laugh in delight at how fast his new remote controlled car went on a free-from-snow asphalt drive. Listening to my daughters tease and natter with each other and not fight for once. Normal, family life moments. And I was glad I spent it with them.

But I still feel guilty that I didn't write. Didn't tackle the looming, massive revisions I have to do to make this latest wip sellable. It made me wonder whether I was using the family as a way to procrastinate on doing a difficult task? And THAT thought made me feel even guiltier. I definitely don't want to think that I'm using my family as an avoidance technique. I'd like to think I really do want to spend time with them and they should be placed ahead of everything else in my life. And yet ... if I want to be a writer I know I have to carve out time for writing. So ... how do I do that and not feel guilty for doing that? Maybe this is this one of those universally unanswerable questions. But if there is an answer out there, I'd really love to hear it.


  1. It helps me to treat it like a job with dedicated hours - namely the monthly RWA meeting and 2 weekly three-hour segments. Maybe I sneak in a few extra hours, just like I would at a paying job. Maybe one of those work segments falls on a holiday like Thanksgiving and then I skip it - just like at a normal job. Maybe that helps??

  2. Thanks, MF. I think that's exactly what I have to do. But I have to remember that this is a job that I love to be at!

  3. Make your choices every day, and then don't regret them. Love whatever you're doing, when you're doing it.