Novel Writing – My Ultimate Self Indulgence

standard February 24, 2009 6 responses

My favorite self indulgence is milk chocolate covered graham crackers dunked in a hot latte. It’s decadent, creamy, rich, chocolaty, and delicious. I only let myself order that at Starbucks when I’m having a particularly bad day or when I feel the need to celebrate.

I’m a grown up. I make my own food decisions. I know what’s good for me and what’s not. I know I can allow myself the occasional treat and yet, when I order that particular indulgence I feel guilty from the first tentative dip to the final delectable lick of my chocolate covered fingers.

Today I opened one of my novels in progress. I read through what I had written, made some edits, and wrote some more.

It felt unbelievably good. It felt good to beat the procrastination bug. It felt good to defy my fear. And it felt good to see that what I’d written was as good as I remembered.

In fact, the whole thing felt downright indulgent.

I know that part of my blockage has to do with a fear of failure or success, but now I’m convinced that my biggest issue is that ever present mommy guilt, you know, the one that admonishes you whenever you take time to do something for yourself.

I get my hair cut every 8 months or so. I never get a manicure/pedicure/facial. I don’t go to the movies by myself. For the longest time the only alone time I ever got was a weekly trip to the grocery store. So now that I’m a freelancer I constantly feel that spending any time not working towards something that will directly benefit my family is a waste of my time.

Working on a novel feels like the ultimate self indulgence. I’m doing it for me, just me, no one else. It’s my story, written on my time, with little to no hope of ever benefiting anyone else. I feel guilty before writing, while writing, and after writing. And so I never get around to adding to the stories.

Today, emboldened by the responses to the post I wrote yesterday, I didn’t wait until I had done all my work, I didn’t let my usual chores distract me. I jumped right in. I put everything out of mind and focused on my novel.

I loved every wonderful guilt inducing moment. And when I shut down my computer I almost had to resist the urge to lick my fingers clean.

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6 responses

  • Yeah! I’m so proud of you!

    After I posted yesterday, I meant to post again & ask if mommy-guilt had anything to do w/ you’re not writing, but forgot…

    It’s so hard to find time to do things just for yourself…but I think it’s as important as date nights. (Not that I’ve been good about either.) My guilty pleasures are reading & movies…but of course I only find the time to do those after the kids are in bed & give up sleep to do it.

    Any ways, I’m so glad that you’ve gotten some writing done!! If you need someone to read it, let me know!

  • Hi Jessica. My friend Susan sent me over here to read this post, as she thought I would appreciate it, and I did. As a freelance writer working from home and trying to get my novel finished, I can identify with what you feel. There are some days that after working on what needs to be done workwise, I absolutely do not feel like contributing time to what REALLY needs to be done. My daughter is older now though, and she’s become so independent that working on my novel has become a way to fill in some of the space that used to be the two of us doing Mommy/Daughter things. It’s a beautiful thing when you can sit down at your desk, indulge in what makes your soul happy and walk away feeling sated. I hope you find more guilt free time to indulge! After all the hard work you do between mothering your children and trying to provide for them and your family, you deserve it!

    Jenny Bean
    The Inner Bean

  • This is awesome news. Really, truly. Way to go.

    I struggle very much with the mommy guilt thing too, but one thing I have learned is that carving out some time for things that matter just to me makes me a better mom – I’m more engaged and less resentful when I’m with my kids. And I’ve also learned that you do need to just sit down and write instead of doing chores. Because a) who says doing chores makes you a better mom? It just makes you a better housewife? and b) I’ve discovered that the chores either get done by someone else, or more quickly by me, or not at all. And it usually works out OK.

  • It took me ten years to finish my first one, because I didn’t find the time. There’s always something the kids need…

    When I did finish it, it felt so great that I haven’t stopped! The next one only took 6 months.

    Now if I can only get one published…

  • Oh the mommy guilt. We all have it no matter what we are doing. I think it’s awesome that you are committed to writing a novel. Keep writing!

  • good for you, working on your novel and all. i have this problem where i start a book. stop. then start on another one. i have 5 things i’m working on in addition to blogging. it’s hard to focus at times. so i prentend my blog posts are little books. i have over 200 books. lol. when i grow up, i’ll finish a book of a different kind. maybe like one on a shelf.

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