Friday, May 31, 2013

So you wanna write a book? Let go of the guilt.

Hey there. so today I'm going to blog about Junowrimo, which is like Nanowrimo, but in June.

So you wanna write a book in a month? You can do it. It breaks down to 1667 words per day for 50K in 30 days. If you wanna write 60K it's 2000 a day and 75K is 2500 a day. Seem like a lot?

It is and it isn't. The key to finishing a book on a time frame - or really just finishing one at all - is really only about one thing - letting go of your guilt.

I asked people what they wanted me to blog about and the number one response I got was "How do you write, work, mother, wife, live all at the same time?" It's all how you manage your guilt.

Everyone can make time to write. it may be tricky, but if you want it, you do it. If you don't make time, then you don't want it bad enough. My students who come to me after auditions in the summer and say "Why didn't we make it?"
The answer - you didn't want it bad enough.
Them: But I do! it's everything!
Me: Then why did you miss so many classes last year? Why didn't you practice your double pirouettes and splits you know are required for the team? Why are you asking after the fact how to improve for what you already missed? 

The secret to writing is wanting it. You have to be willing to give up things to make the time and then redo fifty gazillion times and then just once more to make it perfect. So where do you find the time?

Most of us can manage time. We manage to make time for The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural each week. We manage to spend hours upon hours on Twitter. We manage to work. We manage to go to work functions for ourselves and our spouses. We manage to take the kids to doctor appts, little league, go to the store, fix the food, get them up and on the school bus. We make sure everyone in our house, including the house, looks great, has freshly washed clothes, eats good food, gets to where they need to be.

But most of us, if we take any time for us to write, or shower, or eat something better than Twizzlers,  something that's very important, we feel guilt. And that's just ridiculous.

The collective they say if you want to be a writer you have to make it a priority. While this is true, if you're wallowing in guilt the entire time you're sitting there, your words will most likely be crap. I often marvel at the fact I can watch Damon Salvatore for an hour after the kids go to bed and feel no remorse in that time spent, but sit down for an hour to write while my kids watch Disney and feel like the worst mother in the world. Has the mommy guilt gotten so bad among our generation that doing something that really matters to me ends up with a stomach ache and antacids? Because I call bullshit.

So to pull off 50K in a month, or just to be a writer, the first thing you have to let go of is guilt. If you need to write, sit down and write. If you go to an eight job, do you feel bad for it? No. It's your job. If you're a stay at home mom or dad, you shouldn't feel guilty for doing what you love and are trying to make your job. Maybe it already is your job and this is your tenth book. I often wonder if Judy Blume feels guilt when she sits down to write because she should be doing something else. Or what about Stephen king? Or John Green? I seriously doubt it.

Because the bottom line is if you're a writer, you may HAVE to do other things, but there isn't anything else you SHOULD be doing. Get what I mean? You are doing what you are meant to do, and you should never feel guilty for that.

So there's the big secret - you have no reason to feel guilty. Anything worth doing takes time. So give yourself the time you need and don't take up that time with guilt. If you honestly think you can't fit in your writing, then you may have to tell the Salvatores and Winchesters you'll see them in the fall and buckle down. If you still feel it, you might have to stay off of Twitter. *shudder* But when you sit down to write with the time you've carved out for yourself, let it just be you and your words. I promise the grocery store and the dust in the house, and even Damon, will still be there when you're done. And they don't mind waiting.


  1. THIS is so me! I've carved out time over the years, enough to have written 2 books. I must be a writer, right? So why do I still feel guilty?

    Does getting a book published get rid of guilt? I hope so.

  2. I'm starting my first JuNoWriMo in...oh...three hours and I needed this post! You are one of those inspiring women who do it all, but this post makes it clear that anyone can do it if they want it bad enough.

    1. Glad to help! And thanks for stopping by!!

  3. Oh I'm so glad I stopped over here! I've been lacking inspiration all day – day one JuNoWriMo. Guilt, I hadn't realized, is very well what is holding me back. Thanks so much!