Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guilt Block

It's officially December 1st. NaNoWriMo is over. How many of you participated, either officially or not? If you did, you're probably doing one of two things: doing the happy dance for finishing your 50,000 words, or staring glumly at the computer, realizing that you didn't make it. Again. (Oh wait, that's just me.)

But I didn't officially participate. Why should I feel glum? Because I didn't do what I knew I could. I could have done more. Tried harder. Finagled a few more minutes out of my "computer time" to write. I had a great outline, a fabulous story premise, a solid understanding of the characters. And I stopped. Not because of any one thing, but life has a way of reaching out and grabbing you by the throat and shaking you around like a rag doll. I would like to make excuses, but I can't. I'm too sick of my own rationalizations to believe me anymore.

It's like writer's block, but not. Maybe it's a guilt block. Yeah, I think that's it. I start to feel guilty when I spend time writing instead of doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen. But I don't want to leave the computer, and the tie I have to the promise of writing. On those days where I mess around with everything under the sun EXCEPT writing, and eventually give up the computer to my 5 year old in disgust, the disappointment I feel leaks into my bones. I wanted so much to move on, to work more, but I couldn't get myself to click on the program. The wall is huge and black and moans my name like death. Death of my ideas of what a Mormon Mommy should be, death of my attempts to be something I should be. I should be caring more for my family by being perfect. A perfect housekeeper, a perfect cheerleader, a perfect life guide. But I am none of those things. Instead I am horrendously imperfect in all aspects of my life. And so when I want to write, that guilt block rears up and roars with laughter at my puny attempts to scale it. It knows that it takes only one time of ignoring the fighting going on between a couple of siblings to "finish this one paragraph", and the battle explodes into something like North and South Korea, and I wasn't there to stop it. I was writing. I was selfish. I chose me instead of them, and that is not what a Mormon Mommy is supposed to do.

So I stopped writing this month. I sat at the computer waaaaayyy more than I should have, but didn't write what I could have.

Balance. Ahhhh. What a lovely dream.


  1. Oh Megan, I've been there so many times. I've been trying to win Nanowrimo since 2004. But was I ever really trying? I too blocked myself. I said all the things you just said. So what was different this year? How did I get through these blocks? I saw them for what they were and accepted them. I didn't ignore my fears, I embraced my fears. I will try to articulate this more in my post tomorrow. But know that it is truly possible to find the balance you crave. And without moments like your having now, you would never be able to appreciate the moments of triumphs you will have. Smile, this is but a short journey!

  2. One thing I always have to remind myself if that I'm a better mom than I think I am. Mom guilt is a mean, mean thing. Nobody's perfect.



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