Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writer Support Group


I have a guilt complex. It's a horrible thing and it's really taking a toll on my ability to work on the fictional projects I enjoy.

I copy write for a living, and while I love my boss. She frustrates me. I have a really hard time telling her no when she wants me to do extra work. Yesterday's a perfect example. I agreed to write seven pages of web content. This was perfect. I'd have plenty of time to do the work, pick up a couple of extra pages that pay better (and more consistently) and also get a 1000 or so words written in my current fiction project.

That was before I got another email begging me to take a set of articles another writer had done but which needed to be rewritten. I should have told her no. I hate rewrites, they don't pay much and they take me three times as long as  writing original content, but my boss is good. She didn't have time to do the work herself. So I agreed. Bye-bye fictional work.

I should also add that my guilt complex is so strong, I feel bad about sending her my weekly invoices.

This month I'm determined to work out this situation. I will tell her no when I don't have time to complete something. I'm going to focus on managing  my time better.

The fact that I want to have the rough draft I'm working submission ready by the end of spring should work as a motivator.


  1. I can see how that would be tough, but on the other hand, you're writing for a living! Do you know how many writers are stuck in shops or serving in cafes and just desperate to see a piece of paper to scribble a single sentence on? :-)

    1. I do know how lucky I am, though I sometimes find it difficult to be grateful while writing 16,000 words about appliance repair and IT support. I really just have to get better at telling people no and balancing my time.

  2. Oh, man... totally get it. Freelancing is a feast or famish thing, it seems, so it's hard to walk away when the work is flying in, because there will be times there's only a little bit of it...

    I think I'd suggest just blocking out a time of day for the fiction and not counting it as part of the day you have to work the other stuff. Do the fiction in sprints so you get your hour or two in. and only have the OTHER part of your day available to work...

  3. Don't let your guilt get in the way of getting paid. Your time, skills, and talents, are valuable...don't forget that!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I totally know how you feel here. I think that's why I'm having an extra hard time with the query process. Ever since I started writing fiction, I've struggled to finish my PhD. now for me, the only person breathing down my neck to finish my dang dissertation is myself. But man can I pile on the guilt!!

    What I've done in the past (and am struggling to do today) is like Hart said - set aside some time for fun writing. Sometimes (when I need to get more work on on PhD stuff) - I'll let myself fun-write as a treat. Other times, when I know that for my sanity's sake, I need to write/plot/dream - I'll block out a morning for fiction.

    Ok. now I need to go take my own advice, heehee!

  5. Girl, (Oh, I hate it when people call me Girl, and I never use it!) take charge of your life and get your invoices out right off. Maybe then she won't ask you to do so much extra work! Saying no is hard, but don't think of it as being mean, but that your time and interests are worthy enough to think twice before taking in extra. That's a lesson I think I'm getting down. Every non and then it sneaks up that I don't think my wishes are as worthy. Then I realize I'm thinking that way and have to bulldoze that thought away. I generally have a good balance now when it comes to saying no or not.

  6. Jess, I'm guessing your boss doesn't read your blog? Did you know that if you use google and someone googled your name, they find the link to this post? Not that you said anything bad about her, but as a mother, I have a tendency of butting in and leaving my 10 cents worth. A

    Learning to say no is tough. I had a problem with it my entire life. Guess what happened? Yup, menopause. Cures almost every nicety there is.

  7. Know when to say when! In the blogging world, I often take on more than I can handle and am learning to reel that in a bit. Sometimes we have to do that to maintain our sanity.
    Let your boss know. I think she'll appreciate the honesty.