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There’s always something to feel guilty about

standard July 15, 2009 4 responses

In 9 days I hop on a plane and head across the country, sans husband or kids, to spend three days partying, schmoozing, networking, and learning with some 1000 other bloggers.

I am looking forward to my time at BlogHer more than you can possibly imagine. There’s nothing like spending that much time surrounded by like minded people, sleeping in comfy hotel beds, and chatting, chatting, chatting. It’s like a long girls night out punctuated with tons of learning and growing.

So, as I said, I’m delighted and excited, but I’m also devoured by guilt and anxiety.

I’m not worried about the social aspect. I’m over that. (And if you’re not and you’re anxious about it, check out this awesome list of Commandments for BlogHer Success. Be sure to read the comments too!)

No. I’m worried about the money.

Last year when I went, a) in San Francisco so I drove, and b) I was still working and I had steady writing work lined up, so the finances weren’t an issue. This year I’ve been freelancing for almost a year, that steady writing work turned out to not be steady at all, and nothing else has been much steadier. To say that I haven’t earned much in the last year is putting it mildly.

So I feel pretty guilty to be skipping off into the sunset to go have fun at a conference on the other side of the country. It’s a significant expense and I really don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to spend the money.

I’m still going. And I’m trying to get over it, because it’s going to be good for me on many, many fronts, both personally and professionally, but it’s so hard to not worry about each and every dime that is going to be spent. And it’s so hard not to feel guilty about spending that money. Especially since I haven’t earned it myself.

Making Progress, and Not Just on the Novel

standard February 26, 2009 4 responses

Two days ago I sat down and worked on my novel for an hour. Then I freaked out and gave into the massive guilt trip that engulfed me.

Today I didn’t wait until the end of the day and the completion of my to do list to start writing. The story had been niggling me all night and I couldn’t wait to let my ideas play on the page. I opened the document and told myself I’d write for an hour and “work” after.

Two hours later I had to rip myself from the page so I could get to circle time at C’s preschool on time. I couldn’t stop beaming.

Sure, most of what I wrote was terrible. I knew that as I was writing. I just kept thinking “First drafts are supposed to suck. First drafts are supposed to suck” and pushing through. I know I’ll have to go back and cut a ton of it. I know what’s going to need to be beefed up or toned down. But I also know that lots of what I wrote was good, that the characters that I introduced are just right, and I have a hunch that the story will work.

All of that is exciting, but what’s truly thrilling is that I didn’t feel guilty after shutting down the computer. I just felt happy. That’s gotta be good, right?

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.

The guilt money can buy

standard January 11, 2009 1 response

My sisters and I do our best to make Christmas as magical as possible for our kids. We strive to recreate the awe we felt coming down early on Christmas morning and seeing that mountain of presents under the shimmering tree. In the process we tend to go a bit overboard on gifts.

In the past I’ve had no qualms buying my nieces and nephews two, three, even sometimes four presents. I’ve gotten way more than that for my own kids. And I never stopped there. I also went a bit nuts for the grown-ups of the family, usually ending my Christmas shopping with a spree at Barnes & Nobles. Since my sisters do the same, the result is always a tree with a somewhat obscene amount of presents under it.

That’s how my latest Silicon Valley Moms Blog post starts. Click here to read the rest.