art imitates life, life irritates art

I can’t believe it is time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post!InsecureWritersSupportGroup

This month, I wanted to talk about another kind of writing insecurity. The one where you worry: is my writing ruining the rest of my life? I’m sure I am not the only person who has this particular insecurity?

This insecurity comes and goes in waves, following the tides of plot ideas and the rough storms of editing.

Sometimes, I am a perfectly devoted wife and mother, baking pies and taking my kids to the library and snuggling up with the hubs on the couch. And other times, I am a snappish, distracted, scatterbrain – never too far from my keyboard, irritated at any interruption, ignoring laundry piles, and feeding my kids scrambled eggs for dinner.

Every parent lives with a constant baseline level of guilt. It’s part of the job. But the guilt of the writer parent is a special kind of hell. A few examples: I have completed a novel this spring/summer, but my kids haven’t started their summer reading. I bought my son a new video game, then spent my resultant kid-free time writing heartfelt dialogue between a fictional mother and her son.  I ordered takeout so I could spend the night writing a scene where my characters cook a family dinner together.

I know all working parents do this stuff. Maybe not with the same kind of irony, but they make sacrifices. That’s life. Although, most parents who ignore their families for work get paid. I do this for almost nothing. Well, I make money, I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining. I am happy with where I am at right now. But I could make way more money in a lot less time working at burger king or something.

Bottom line: I have a lot of guilt. And I worry that I might not be doing the right thing. I try to remember that showing my kids what it means to work hard, be passionate about something, and keep learning, is important. And I do play with them and I do cook (and I even sometimes clean) so I’m not a total failure as a mom.

But I worry all the time that I’m making the wrong choice, spending time with these fictional people I write instead of the real ones here in front of me. Add it to the list of insecurities, I guess 😦

12 thoughts on “art imitates life, life irritates art

  1. It’s one of those things where so long as it doesn’t get out of balance, it’s fine. It’s probably also worth remembering that having some time to do what you love probably makes you a better parent/person than you might otherwise be.

    • That’s a good point…I should get one of those wall signs that says “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” and hang it over my desk
      (no, not really)
      Thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

  2. I am a writing hobbyist, and I felt that guilt when sitting alone in the living room to write romantic scenes between two fictional characters while my partner laid in bed alone. So if my amateur experience is anything to go on, you are not alone.

    • Oh yes, that too! I have done the same. Or written about characters talking out their problems, while I refuse to discuss something with my husband.
      LOL the irony. 🙂
      I guess writing is as much an “escape” from real life and its problems as reading. And maybe that isn’t always a bad thing, as long as we are aware of it.

  3. What we’ve learned here is that if I don’t have a particular amount of writing time that I get cranky, so it’s better for the family just in general for me to spend time doing it.

    • I have heard that from other authors as well, I guess it is a common thing among us. Writing can be therapeutic, and I think for some people the words inside just have to be let out with some regularity. It isn’t an issue with me right now in my life, but I bet it would be if (or when) I didn’t have the free time that I do currently.
      Thanks for visiting me 🙂

    • Thanks! It seems to come in waves: when a book is going well (reading or writing) I don’t want to do anything else, and when it is done I play catch up on everything around the house for a few days. Ah, such is a writing life, I guess!
      Happy IWSG to you as well 🙂

  4. Guilt is part of the gig for sure. Your kids are taken care of, and you’re teaching them that sometimes Mom needs a little tending as well. They’ll be fine, and your imaginary characters will make you crazy if they’re prevented from running loose every now and again. 🙂

    • Yes, that is true! Who knows what would happen if these stories were left in my mind to fester…? A frightening prospect 🙂
      Thanks for the comment, and the reassurance!

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