Monthly Archives: September 2013

#WIPMarathon-Guilt Is A Useless Emotion

It’s been too long since I sat down at ye olde laptop and wrote a new blog post. And right now I’m writing with a weight off my shoulders. I don’t think I even realized how stressed out I’ve been except that now it’s over.

Life has definitely been getting in the way of my writing.

Yesterday was a big day. I’d been asked eighteen months ago if I’d help plan a special farm celebration as part of my town’s 300th anniversary*. Since I’m on the board of our local nonprofit farm, I was recruited for this event, and I’ve been working on it steadily for a while now. Along with tons of other amazing volunteers, of course. I’m no one-woman show, that’s for sure.

Between school starting and this September 15 event looming in my head/taking all of my free time, I have been letting my writing slide. Oh, I was still reading all of the cool blogs I follow (“make writing part of your daily routine!” “I don’t go to bed until I have at least two pages written each day!” “successful writers are the ones that keep writing, no matter what!”)** but instead of inspiring me they just made me feel more guilty.

You promised yourself and the WIPMarathoners you’d meet your goal in August, I told myself. All you need to do is write 20 minutes a day–set small goals, I coached. Things will get easier soon, now that 5yo is in Kindergarten, I theorized.

And yet.

My brain was swimming with too many other things. Too many other obligations. Yes, writing time is sacred, but so are commitments you’ve made to other people. I can’t do it all, and I need to accept that. And take advantage of the times when I DO have the luxury of writing. I worry that writing will start to feel like more of an obligation, another item on the to-do list, instead of utter joy. The way to avoid that (I hope) is by accepting that my life ebbs and flows, and better to work consistently when I can, accepting when I cannot.

I told one of my co-volunteers yesterday that I felt guilty for not doing as much as I thought I should have for the event. “Guilt is a useless emotion,” she counseled. I answered that I’m Jewish, so it’s in my genes. Totally unavoidable. She laughed and handed me a beer***. That helped.

She’s right, though, really. Guilt is useless. A waste of energy. A better idea is to sip your beverage of choice, take a deep breath, and try do your best. Accept when your best isn’t as good as you’d hoped. And keep plugging along.

So even though I never reached my super-easy and I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-manage-it goal of 15k words in August, I’m trying to be okay with that. I’m not far from finishing my first draft. I may even complete it this week.

But you know what? If I don’t, it’s okay.

I would like to sit here.

*Yup, we were founded in 1713–good ol’ Massachusetts. Still, it kind of blows my mind.

**I’m paraphrasing, here.

***Don’t worry! This was after the event was done and the kiddies had all gone home.

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