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