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Why writers feel guilty

Why writers feel guilty header

Do you know any guilty writers? You know the type, the writer who is constantly anxious because they’re not in front of the computer screen. This guilt effects all types of writers. It’s difficult to define why writers feel guilty, but I’m going to have a go.

Are you a guilty writer?

Are you the type of writer who feels guilty when they’re not writing? Maybe you’re:

  • watching TV,
  • enjoying the sunshine, or even
  • talking to your family.

In the back of your mind you’re always worrying that you’re not writing enough. Guilt driven writers can usually be found by the permanent look of stress and worry that is etched on their face. Yet you know, that watching TV, sitting in the sun and talking to your family isn’t something that you should feel guilty about.

A woman relaxing in a pool

Why is she relaxing? SHE SHOULD BE WRITING!

What creates a guilt driven writer?

Most writers have two main triggers that start them panicking about whether they are writing enough. If you’re not panicking about how much you write, why not look at one of my other articles (check out the type of writer or my great writer interviews) I don’t want to be accused of increasing anxiety!

Other people

The first, and probably most common, is the how much other people seem to be doing. I write a blog a week, sometimes short and sometimes long. But there is always someone who has written more than me, or blogged eight times in a week. Then there’s the writer who blogs four times a week and also manages to write six books in a year.

A group laughing

Is that all you’ve written? LOL

These writers are understandably proud of the work they have created. After all, they have the discipline to sit at the computer for the hours it takes to turn out such work. So they boast about it on social media, or to their email followers. A guilty writer reads this update and feels awful about their own lack of ability.


There are writers who die every day without completing what they are working on at that moment. A lot of writers worry about what they will leave behind – a book full of empty pages, or an inspiring body of work?

That leads to a lot of pressure. Can you call yourself a writer if you haven’t written anything? Some bloggers would say no, some would push you back to the keyboard and to finish something, anything, before your inevitable demise.

Some writers are obsessed with legacy, and what they leave behind. These are passionate writers and I don’t hold it against them. Other writers, in a not dissimilar way to the ‘Other people’ reason above, will worry that they will never get anything finished.

Are you a guilt driven writer?

Writing should be fun. You should want to sit down at the keyboard and put together a story, poem, article or script. It’s when you don’t allow yourself to enjoy it that writing becomes a chore.

I’m aware that writing ‘don’t feel guilty’ here won’t help you feel better. So I’m going to think about this and return in a couple of weeks with some ways to combat the urge to chastise yourself for not writing enough. In the meantime, why not subscribe to my newsletter? Go on, you don’t have to feel guilty about it.

The images on this page are from Unsplash.

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