3 Guilt Trips Writers Need To Ignore

Photo by mindfreak

Photo by mindfreak

So you’re a writer. You keep your own hours, but they are set in your mind as the time when you set aside to work. Sometimes they must flow with your creativity and sometimes deadlines require us to buckle down and get words on the page.

Still. You are a writer.

Do you ever feel misunderstood about your career? Do you find yourself feeling guilty for writing?

I have so been there. With four kids, volunteering, church, and other commitments it often gets overwhelming. But to top it off I occasionally let guilt get a hold of me and interfere with my writing.

3 Guilt Trips Writers Need To Ignore:

1. The Volunteer In The Day Trap. Yes, as writers our hours are flexible. But that doesn’t mean that we are required to fill every day time volunteer opportunity just because no one else is available.

Are you really available during that time, or should you be writing? There is absolutely nothing wrong with dedicating your time to serving others, in fact, it is important. But make sure that the reason you are volunteering isn’t out of guilt, but rather a devotion to the group you are serving.

This rule will be a gift to you. You find more joy in serving and it will help others to take your job seriously because you do.

2. I Shouldn’t Spend Time Away From My Kids Trap. Family is number 2 on my list, right after God. They get my love and attention.

Photo by Tuingui

Photo by Tuingui

Is it neglectful to take time to pursue your dream? If you take time for your family and you are there when they need you to show love and support, it is only healthy to have some of your own interests.

A family is not a vacuum where all personal identity is sucked out of you. When this happens you begin to feel invisible, unimportant, and as if you have lost who you are.

Do you want your kids to be dreamers? How will they dream if you haven’t shown them how to pursue your dream?

What a powerful thing to let your kids see you dream. Make them part of your journey. Show them how you break your dreams down into little steps and achieve each a bit at a time. Show them how you budget to support your dream. Make them part of your success and it won’t take away from your family, merely enhance it.

3. The “Oh, Isn’t That Nice” Trap. Every writer has a few people in their life who just don’t understand that writing is a profession. They don’t treat conferences like a professional learning experience, but rather a fun get away with the guys or gals.

Often if you tell them you are working on a book you will get the, “Oh, isn’t that nice,” type of comment. You begin to feel guilty about going to a conference, taking time to write, or even talking about your story.

Never belittle your own career with this guilt trap. Writing is a profession, it requires training, you must put in office hours, and it takes incredible skill.

Don’t feel guilty for talking about your job, everyone else does. It is a part of you. Don’t be afraid to share it. (Although, you may not want to tell “normal” people that you hear your character’s voices, LOL.)

What guilt traps do you have to ignore? Or How do you avoid guilt traps?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

10 thoughts on “3 Guilt Trips Writers Need To Ignore

  1. I think you’ve covered them quite nicely. Somehow it’s just so hard to say no to the good things. But if we don’t we might miss God’s best.

  2. Excellent post! I suffer from WGS (Writer’s Guilt Syndrome) and needed to read this today!

  3. Mindy says:

    Great encouragement! My writing life began to thrive when I learned the power of NO. Because the more you say YES, the more people ask you to do, and the less other people do. It’s easy to become the YES person. Saying NO as the spirit leads helps you use your gifts as called and teaches others to step into service.

  4. I loved this post, Michelle. I LOVED what you said about letting my kids see me pursue my dream. What better example can I set for them of taking a risk for a dream? And committing to follow through with the work? I needed that reminder.

    I think you covered the main guilt traps I get caught in sometimes.
    Well done!

  5. You missed one huge writer guilt trip: the dog who thinks you are their servant because you’re at home all day just staring at the screen and tapping on the desk. I get more guilt from that furry cockroach than all the other items combined. Get up out of chair, check door, check bowl, etc. Nope, just doesn’t want me at the desk.

    Man’s best friend? Nah, man’s biggest nagger.

    Good thing I love her.

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