Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reading, Writing and Guilt

After the AROHO writers’ retreat I attended in August, I was gung-ho about signing up for writer’s blogs and subscribing to writing magazines. I bought works by short story writers I hoped to emulate.

I work at a national nonprofit as a marketing/communications specialist three days a week (Tuesday-Thursday). I envisioned Mondays and Fridays as days to devote to reading and writing. Instead, I’ve been in a quagmire of guilt because I haven’t done much of either lately. The stack of books and magazines sits on my nightstand and mocks me. “Look at the money you spent on us!” “Stop being such a cry baby and get to work!”

I’ve always been such a motivated ‘employee.’ Yet, I’ve found it difficult to stay energized about my craft when I’m only accountable to me, myself and I. I suppose self doubt fuels apathy, which then translates to procrastination.

Yikes. What a pity party I’m having today. Writers – how much do you read and how do you make time for it?


  1. Grad school forces me to read plenty - at night, on the train, whenever I can. It also has built-in deadlines which force me to write, but I'll lose them when I graduate.

    I recently saw a call for submissions that seemed particularly relevant, so I wrote a 4,000 word essay that I would have never written without the deadline.

    The amazing thing is the editors really liked it (final decisions in January), but even if they don't take it I have a strong essay I can submit to other markets. So, anthology and contest deadlines might be the ticket to keep me writing after I graduate.

  2. I agree that deadlines are great, so is habit- set time and place, we get our coffee the same way every morning, brush our teeth the same way- I find I have to stay consistent in the place and time i write or it gets away from me- and also not to have grand expectations- a day with fifteen minutes of writing get you fifteen minute farther in your novel!
    From your neighbor near Dolores!

  3. I have recently discovered audio books, something I'd always been leery of before. I commute several days a week, so I have lots of time. Since fiction seems like something I should do with a book in my hands, I've been listening mostly to nonfiction, whatever happens to jump out at me from the library shelves. Recent topics include the death penalty, Shakespeare, Darwin's Origin of Species, a life of the Buddha, some Clarissa Pinkola Estes on creativity, Tibetan Buddhist thought on anger, NPR's Terry Gross interviewing people about faith and doubt, and Oliver Sack's explorations of the brain and music. It's been fascinating, and is a crazy enough hodge-podge that it is informing some of my other writing in very interesting ways.

  4. I read a lot! I don't feel guilty about that. But I DO procrastinate about my writing. I know that making a time for it, putting it into my schedule like anything else is the answer, I just haven't been able to do that yet...ABLE? Why not? I make lots of excuses, like...I can't write as well as she can! I will never get it done!! I'm not a writer!! BUT...I know that the answer to all those excuses is that I can and I can and I can....So all I have to do is do it!!

    I'm glad to hear that other people have the same problems...

  5. Web is a vast marketplace for your writing.Writing for the web is very different from writing for the print medium. Website Content Writing is booming.