5 Things To Do Instead of Feeling Guilty for not Writing

When that little voice whispers into your ear: “You should be writing”

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

As far as emotions go, guilt is not the most pleasant nor the most useful. It tends to make you feel worthless and paralysed, preventing you from feeling capable of doing or not doing whatever thing you are feeling guilty about in the first place.

As writers, it is a feeling that comes over us a lot — that little voice that creeps into our brains whenever we are not typing, and whispers, “You should be writing!”

But for freelancers, guilt is a pretty useful tool. It can be the boot up your backside needed to stop procrastinating. A stand-in for a boss — albeit, an unencouraging and irritating boss. Point is, guilt can be used as a catalyst. Next time you start thinking, “Oh, I should be writing,” here are five ways to harness that feeling for a productive outcome.

1 — Do the boring stuff

Invoices. Follow up emails. Paperwork. We all have a list of errands that need doing, the dull administrative tasks that are just as much a part of the freelance life as the creative process itself. If you can’t get yourself into the right headspace to write, use your time instead to handle a few of these boring tasks that demand less inspiration. Plus, if they are boring enough, then you will soon be longing to write!

2 — Do something epic

I’ve written before about how sometimes writing is not actually about putting words into paragraphs but about living. I truly believe this. You need to have experiences, conversations, encounters, to have something to write about.

If you can sense that you’re not in a good space to write, don’t force yourself to sit in front of a blank page. Get out there, do something unexpected. Go find something to write about.

3— Read

The one piece of writing advice that all authors seem to agree on is to read. Clichéd, but true. What’s also true is that with our hectic lifestyles, we don’t always get an opportunity to actually kick back with a good book. Now is a chance to do so. Better yet, find new inspiration by reading a book from an author or genre that you never usually read.

4 — Brainstorm

Have a warm bath, light a candle, put on some incense and some nice music and just let your mind wander.

Write down the weirdest and most random ideas that come along as you do. Lay the foundation for that time when you will be back in the mind space to write — you’ll have plenty of ideas to throw yourself into.

5 — Harness your guilt

It’s a literal party trick that I learned during my student days: if a deadline is looming, and you’re struggling to work on a essay / story, instead go out and party.

That way, a combination of having little time left and feeling even more guilty will give you the hard push you need to get started, and finished on time!

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