How To Survive Writer Guilt #writers #amwriting

Writer guilt can be nasty.

I suffer from writer guilt and it manifests itself through:

Guilt related to my writing:

  • I still don’t have a self published or published book. How can I spend hours on something and have nothing to show for it?
  • I should have sent something to a publisher by now even if I don’t feel I am ready for that.
  • I should be on more social media sites *weary look at all the social media sites I am currently juggling*
  • I shouldn’t be hosting a writing blog because I am not a proper writer (no published book). Writer guilt + Imposter Syndrome.
  • I should be challenging myself more.
  • I should be writing more.
  • I should be doing more research.
  • I am writing too much.

Guilt related to all the things that I am not doing whilst writing:

  • I should be spending more time with my family, even though they are all in bed asleep when I write..
  • I should be reading more.
  • I should be reading harder books.
  • I should be concentrating my efforts on doing something else.


I have had to recognise that my writer guilt does run away with itself.

So I have started to take adopt the following mindset:

  1. Accepting that there is nothing rational about writer guilt. It is all in my head! This is the biggie with writer guilt!
  2. Accepting that writing is something I love doing and that I am drawn to it. Writing puts a smile on my face. I can’t give it up. I write because I love doing it. If I am really honest I am having a great and rewarding time with my writing right now.
  3. Accepting that I will go down the self publishing / publishing route when I am ready. I am learning so much through writing everyday and acquiring new skills. It is ok to say “I am not ready to take my passion to the next level”
  4. Accepting that I actually have a very supportive family who encourage and motivate me to go chase down those writing dreams. I need to stop wasting time and energy fretting that I am not seeing enough of them. They are all usually asleep when I write.
  5. This guilt is negative and destructive. No good will come from these thoughts.
  6. Other people in the world waste time doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
  7. Feeling proud of my dedication and commitment to my craft.

Being a writer is hard enough without all the emotional baggage that goes with it.

Have you suffered from writer guilt? Any tips?

Have a fabulous day!

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Still waiting for the Sleepless in Seattle film sequel. Romcom Author. Book Blogger. Mum of teens. Owned by a golden Labrador.

77 thoughts on “How To Survive Writer Guilt #writers #amwriting

  1. Nothing to add except ditto to all your guilt and acceptance points!!!!!
    But we ARE writers… It’s what we do every day, traditionally published or not. Pressing that PUBLISH button on our posts tells us we are! Don’t forget that!!!!

  2. Absolutely! And sometimes it’s downright debilitating. I’ve nearly given up on my writing dreams several times because of “guilt and imposter syndrome.” You’re right…it’s all in our minds.

    When I get overwhelmed, I focus mainly on one thing (right now it’s getting my book ready to publish) and push some of the other things to the side until I’m ready to take on more.

    Like you, I write, because I love it. I write, because I feel lifeless and empty when I don’t write. It’s a part of who I am.

    Good luck to you! I know you’ll get through this. 🙂

    1. Great comment! I feel lifeless and empty too so I have to keep writing and battling against all the emotional stuff. It’s a long journey but we can do this! Thx for reading 🙂 happy Sunday

  3. You forgot ‘Although I should write/ read more, I should also be sorting out the kitchen cupboards/pile of bills/visiting my auntie… Just repeat ‘Life’s too short’.

  4. A part of me is in a rush to accomplish things RIGHT NOW… there’s a part of me that can’t wait three months to get something done.

    Then, when I get busy and time gets away from me, I look at all the time that’s gone by and feel bad because I haven’t accomplished those things yet.

  5. Writer’s Guilt is a pain. I’m always challenging myself on why I haven’t achieved more but I have found ways to be more positive about my writing. For instance, every Saturday I try to join in with the ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ blog hope and write about what I have managed to achieve in the week. I try to make it more positive than negatives to remind myself that I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m on my way.

    1. Sounds familiar :-). Yes being more positive about writing is a challenge. Am glad you are finding ways to navigate through it! Good luck out there! 🙋🏼

  6. This sent to quick. What I mean is love reading all your writing. Do you get time to read or do you like just writing?

  7. Aaah, I relate to this so much. My anxiety issues don’t mesh well with writer’s guilt, and I just have to soothe myself with a lot of the points you made.

    Though I also have this one quite often: How dare you chose that story to work on when you have twenty squillion others just waiting there! *guilty look at all the other works-in-progress* Nevermind that I can only work on one thing at a time.

    But honestly, writing for the joy of it helps inspire me to create better content, I’d think, and I have to keep that at the front of my mind. Thanks for posting this! It definitely makes me feel less alone with such issues.

    1. Thank you for this fab comment! I suffer from the same thing – twenty million stories in my brain at the same time and a head full of noisy characters. You are right – one thing at a time! Thanks for reading and happy Sunday BTW!

  8. Once my family realized what a nice person I could become after devoting time to writing each day they were VERY SUPPORTIVE. A frustrated writer is a friend to no one. 🙂

    Still that guilt creeps up nearly every day!

  9. Yes, yes and yes! The guilt very much alive.
    I had the weekend all to myself – home alone!! I had big plans to write, write and write some more. What did I do? I watched in total 9 romance movies. In my defense some of those movies were based on written novels. I wrote in total for 5 hours the whole weekend. Yep, the guilt is very much alive!
    Thank you for this post, I see I`m not the only one. 🙂 Happy Sunday!

  10. OK I’m the judge … you are a writer and should be a published author…no if buts or maybe’s the ‘Roxy’ story should be out there bringing in the recognition and the money… its more than good.. its well written, funny, oozes feeling. She’s a cracker of a woman and she exists because of you!

  11. Oh cripes, writer’s guilt on top of all the other guilt I’m feeling today! But yes, I’m the writer who hasn’t written a thing except a few blog posts in over 6 months. That’s a great one for the guilt bucket!

      1. I know… I feel very disconnected from it at the moment. Also much busier with work this year than last. I’m not ungrateful about that, but it does rather get in the way of the fun of writing!

  12. I have another guilt. It’s when I write scenes that hurt my characters. In Lightning Attraction 1 I killed a character for the first time and it left me feeling so bad I didn’t write another word for two weeks, not so much because of the deceased, more because of the suffering it caused for another character who had enough on her plate. I’m getting better at coping with it, but this last week has been full of guilt over a section of Lightning Attraction 3. Is this just me being too sensitive?

    1. I am so glad you left this comment. I killed a character and was deluged with complaints from readers. It left me feeling so guilty. Luckily this happened on Wattpad where it’s ‘fiction on the go’ and not in an actual book. Thx for dropping by – I thought I was the only one who suffered with writers guilt on this subject 🙂

  13. I think every writer, published or not, goes through episodes of writer guilt. I have four books out and I still deal with moments of insecurity about my abilities. Don’t let it eat you up.

  14. I have it and get it from time to time.
    I really wish I was writing in the eighties. Word processor , no social media. For all social media does and is, unless you or I have something to sell then it’s not that productive. WordPress is a little more personal and still encourages me to write, so it is energy well spent in a sense.
    But not writing enough is a constant nag, especially when I have no excuses not to be doing so. I try and make sure it doesn’t verge on a love hate thing.

  15. The only guilt I don’t share is the first one. I do have a self-published book. The rest, I feel with every new project I take on…even the one I’ve “finished”.

  16. I’m not a writing coach, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this post since I read it the other day, Lucy. [And not trying to mother-hen or tell you what to do.] I don’t know if you’d want to e-mail me (wordsmithery[dot]email[at]gmail{dot}.com) or let me bombard you with e-mails? I have a lot of thoughts about this. But I’ll share a little here (and try to be brief). Have you tried using a time tracker, such as Manic Time [doesn’t have to be this; that’s just the one I use], to manage the time that you do spend that’s ancillary to your writing? It will show you how much time you spend on Facebook or Twitter or whatnot? The route that I’ve gone—I want to someday write a novel—is perhaps backward, but it’s what I’ve decided to do. I want to ‘master’ (ha! like that’s possible!) shorter forms of writing before I make my way into full-fledged novels. I still need to learn pacing for my longer stories, and I am not always very good at feasible, cogent plots. I know where (I believe) I excel and where I fail or lack. Anyway, that’s me. Have you set up a business plan of where you want to go with your writing? Do you want to be a blogger who does only blogging (which is totally fine)? Do you want to be a novelist who sometimes blogs? As the saying goes, you’ll have to decide! From afar and as (obviously) not someone living your life or even close in vicinity to you, I have some observations I’d humbly suggest for you to streamline your process so you can move toward your goal of writing a novel (if that’s your goal) . . . again, taken with a grain of salt. I’ve not published a novel yet, but I’m starting to see more positive ‘returns,’ so to speak, on my short fiction, so I think I’m getting there. In the end, best wishes to you, Lucy, whatever route(s) you take! 🙂

  17. Reblogged this on Sleepy Book Dragon and commented:
    Didn’t realise writer’s guilt was a thing even though I recognise all those thoughts and feelings. Some very sound advice for dealing with it too!

  18. Wow, seriously, are you a mind reader? I’ve thought about these so often recently. I think for me, it stems from comparing myself with other writers. I tell myself it’ll be my turn someday, but I’m really impatient! So glad to know I’m not the only one.

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