Guilt & Loathing For Writers

…The guilt being how terrible we feel because we’re not using our time properly and, you know, writing. Because writing is so much more important – to us anyway – than getting a job, loving our spouses, and/or taking out the garbage.

The loathing being self-loathing. Because, let’s face it, how can you not hate yourself for:

  1. Not writing
  2. Believing for one instant that said writing is more important than loving our spouses (although it just may outweigh getting a job and/or taking out the garbage

Bottom line: This stuff is tough to deal with. And considering how hard everything else already is, why have guilt and self-loathing on our minds? Gotta get rid of it, you know. Open ourselves up, let the voices in our heads get down into our hands and clickety-clack on our keyboards.

What’s that? You’re clueless about how to do that? About how to make time to do the thing you simply can’t live without doing? About how to feel good about yourself while doing (or not doing it)?

Our answer to this dilemma is this tip, which some may call the Secret of the Universe, but which we call “Keep Busy.”

As for how to get ourselves to keep busy, ah, have no fear, Scott Hanselman, who describes himself as, “a former professor…now a Microsoft employee…[and] a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author” has what turns out to be a remarkably good answer (even for non-writers):

Productivity vs. Guilt and Self-Loathing – by Scott Hanselman

The not getting stuff done sucks, but the guilt and self-loathing is where you really get into trouble. You likely don’t say it out loud, but you think it. You might not tell your spouse, but you think it. I suck. Man, I suck. I’m just not getting a damn thing done…

Here’s what I do when I’m feeling non-productive and guilty. Again, watch the video for more details, it’s not selling anything and I go into more detail. I need to just write a small book on this.

  • Stop Checking Email in the Morning
  • If it’s important, Schedule It
  • Measure, then Cut
  • Do smaller things
  • Let go of Psychic Weight
  • Schedule Work Sprints
  • Stop Beating Yourself Up

Read it all