Writer’s Guilt

(Dedicated, with love, to all of my passionate, creative friends, and my NaNoWriMo buddies who will be neglecting… well, everything this month)

I wonder…

If I weren’t a writer, would my children have fresh-baked cookies and beautifully decorated cupcakes to take to school on holidays, instead of whatever I could throw together at the last minute?

Would the laundry always be done, folded, and actually put away? Would the floors shine? Would every meal be made from scratch, would they be planned three weeks in advance and would nothing come from the freezer except for the lasagna I made and thoughtfully socked away for busy nights?

Would I have time to exercise for an hour a day, pilates and yoga and cardio, oh my?

Would I be more involved at the kids’ school?

Perhaps.

It’s quite distracting having these characters and random bits of dialogue floating around in my head. This thing that I do, that hurts me when I do it and hurts worse when I don’t, but that brings such joy when it all goes right… well, it takes up a lot of time, doesn’t it?

Time I could use for cleaning, for brushing, for scrubbing, for running, for ironing, for cooking, for planning and organizing and being the perfect wife and mom.

I must be a selfish person to want this time for my work. I must be a waste of space. I must not care, or want to give all of myself to my family.

But here’s the thing:

If I weren’t a writer, I would be a mess inside.

I would have dreams left untended, worlds left uncreated, voices left unheard and choices unmade.

I would do my best to look happy on the outside, but the world inside of me would die. Without this perfect space for my imagination to play, it would wither, and crumble.

And all of that extra time? I’d probably use it to stretch out on the couch and watch daytime TV. I might take up drinking as a hobby to quiet those voices. You never know.

I would resent every cupcake I baked, instead of taking on classroom challenges with joy when I actually manage to remember them. I’m not the type who sees housework as a blessing, who feels fulfilled by a clean home. When I write, I can do these things without hating them, because they’re not my job.

If I weren’t a writer, I would feel like a servant.

And if things got really bad, I’d go back to what I used to be before I started writing, before I let my imagination soar, before I discovered a community of people who share my dream, before I was able to cut back on the antidepressants.

Before I started walking the dog every day, because damn it, I’m worth taking care of.

I would be less than what I am. Less happy. Less confident in my skills and what I can accomplish. Less fulfilled. Less balanced. Less friendly and cheerful and encouraging. There would be less of me, and less to give to my family and my world.

I am a better wife and a better mom for having something in my life that lifts me up and challenges me, even if it hurts and disappoints and distracts and frustrates me sometimes.

So yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink once in a while. Maybe my kids take peanut-free candy to school on Halloween instead of prettily-decorated, Pinterest-inspired bags of home-baked goodies.

When I feel like I’m being selfish for taking this time, for writing these words and imagining these worlds, I will remember:

This is who I am. This is what makes me whole, and this is how I give my family more of myself.

I’m not being selfish. I’m being the best possible version of me.

—–

(PS- I feel like I should add that there is nothing wrong with being a person, male or female, who feels fulfilled by keeping a clean home, who finds creative outlets in decorating and cooking, who takes pride in sending those cupcakes to school. I admire that. Most days, I wish I could be like you. It’s just not me, and I’m done feeling guilty for not being perfect according to standards that don’t fit me. Much love to you all, whether you agree with these words or not. <3)

Advertisements

About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

11 responses to “Writer’s Guilt

  • Kat

    Thank you for writing what I am often feeling. I’m looking forward to this November, where I h e made many provisions for my family so they don’t feel entirely neglected, and I can spend as long as I need getting those 2000 words a day down. I intend to clean the hell out of my house today so it won’t get too disgusting while I neglect it. And if it takes actually leaving the house with a laptop, I will. This month I intend to go from “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer.” And your blog makes that seem more possible. So thank you.

    And I know for a fact that I would become an alcoholic if I didn’t have a pen to get some of the random crap out of my head some days.

    • Kate Sparkes

      You ARE a writer. Maybe not a professional yet, but you are a writer and a storyteller, and I hope you’re proud if that now, even if you feel like you still have a long way to go (like I do). 🙂

      Good luck with the cleaning!

  • sknicholls

    Be the best you you can be. You are loved and the rest doesn’t matter.I am married with no kids in the house now. My desk is a mess, the blue jeans are still in the dryer, there is more dog hair on my floor than you would need to stuff a mattress. My granddaughter who trick or treated here last night was drawing pictures in the dust on my living room table last night…and she still loves me.

  • wendy lowden

    This should go out to writers everywhere! You are amazing. I highly suspect the only one making you feel really guilty is…you. Once again, a chip off the old Marmee. YOU are an amazing woman!!! To be fulfilled creatively is to be happy and blessed inside and out and the best you can be for your family.

  • Tom

    Very well expressed. Sure is good to read your clear expression of what it is like to be a young mom and writer.

  • Emily Witt

    This is such a great post, Kate, and I totally know how you feel. I don’t have kids, but sometimes I feel like I’m neglecting my friends and should just try and get out more and be with them rather than at home in my room… but then I bail on things so that I can be at home in my room anyway, and I feel like a bit of a monster for that. But then I get all absorbed in my world and I forget about that.

  • Dave

    Oh how I’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with this very thing. Well, not with the mother or wife thing, but, well, you know what I mean. Seriously, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with as a writer. I sit down to write and … bam! … the guilt overtakes me. It’s almost paralyzing. I sit and think about how awful I am and how I should be spending time doing just about anything else that would be “productive” so that I usually get very little done. Can’t blame it on my wife, either, because she’s consistently very supportive of my reclusive existence as a writer. Guess I just have a guilt complex. Oh well, I’m trying to get over it.

    Thanks for a great post, Kate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

The Writer Within

Inside the world of author AnnMarie Wyncoll

mum mutter

the mutterings of a tired mum and aspiring writer

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

Are You Finished Yet?

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of best-selling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

Life, love, writing

Sara Beth Williams, Author of Christian Romance

Allie Potts Writes

Author, Blogger, Designer - Inventor of Worlds

Ultimately Useless Stories

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

shanjeniah.wordpress.com/

Learning. Laughter. And Loving My Glorious, Messy Life!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

Doorway Between Worlds

Communication tips with a creative twist

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Practical Whimsy

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

☀life is never fair☕

🌼i gather strength from life’s storms -Jonathan L Huie🌼

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

%d bloggers like this: