Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m writing, especially when I’m on a roll and write thousands of words a day. I feel guilty because I have the ability to spend a good bit of my time writing and I feel like I shouldn’t. I feel like I should be like so many other writers, using my early morning hours and lunch breaks to eek out what few words I can fit in before slaving away at a nine-to-five.
Before I began writing again, I was working full-time. Often, I worked late, especially in the summers. I had a high-stress job that I loved but could not longer manage along with my illnesses. So half a year ago, I quite my job. I’m working part-time to help out, but my husband is responsible for most of our income. He’s incredibly supportive and has even mentioned that by the end of the year, he may be making enough money (he owns his own company) that I may not have to work at all. He wants me to spend my days writing. As much as I love that idea, I struggle with it. I’ve been working for a decade, and I am a hard worker. My work ethic is something that I am proud of. If I am not working, I feel lazy, even if I spend my days taking care of our house and writing thousands of words.
I hate that I feel guilty. Writing is work, and I treat it as such. I set goals, and I work until I meet those goals. I have a dedicated work space and dedicated work times. And, as I do with anything else I work hard at it. I’ve taken to calling myself a writer. Writing is what consumes so much of my time that even though I am not paid for what I do, it truly is my occupation. So why do I feel that I must make money off of what I do in order to feel as though I am accomplishing something. Is that what growing up as an American means – work hard and make money or else feel no sense of accomplishment? Or is it because I have worked in my field (as a museum educator) and made money doing what I loved and am in that position no longer? I have no idea. But I want to tear myself away from this idea that I have to make money from my writing for it to be worthwhile. I do want to publish my works and hopefully make something off of them, but the true purpose of my writing is that it helps me process life and simply that I love it. And shouldn’t that be what matters?