It’s usually easier for me to fight this off than it is for some; but… There is a fair amount of guilt and feelings of failure associated with being a writer. For all of you writers out there, this is not a news flash. When you have a nine to five job, if you want to keep it, you have to get up and be there every day, and you already know what is expected of you; you already know all of the goals you have to meet on a daily basis.
But writing is a self- driven passion. There is no task master constantly whipping you to perform. There is no one to report to, but yourself. So often times if you don’t write every day, guilt can start to weasel in. You feel bad for not creating. You feel bad for you leaving your characters in the lurch; twiddling their thumbs, awaiting the author’s return so that they can be sentient and alive once again.
This is the time when we need to take a breath and be honest with ourselves as writers. Whatever it is that drives creativity will not always flow unimpeded. Those who are able to devote themselves completely to their craft without distraction are a lucky few, while the rest of us have to go to a nine to five job, we have to do the laundry, raise our families and even tend to ourselves; which can easily fall by the way side, if we aren’t careful.
Just like anything of merit, it takes times for characters and stories to grow and develop. It also may be a matter of the writer fixing what ails them, whether it is lack of sleep (Which I often suffer from); doubts in one’s abilities; being pulled in multiple directions or even actual medical problems, like illness or depression.
The key is to cut yourself some slack. Being excessively hard on yourself isn’t going to make your imagination any more accessible, as a matter of fact, it will most likely drop another road block in your creative process. Instead of fretting, be systematic. As a writer, naturally, you are able to look within to decipher things about yourself; to delve into past and present emotions, in order to bring your characters to life; use that same introspection to self-diagnose what is keeping your creativity at bay, and treating or remedying that as much as possible. Sometimes, it may be a matter of getting some sleep, or sometimes it may take more, but at least getting to the root of the problem will put you on the path to a resolution.
Life is never simple. And neither is writing, so don’t expect it to be. Take it easy. Don’t let your ample imagination get away from you. The passion and desire will return, we just need to work on ourselves as eagerly as we work on our characters.