Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 25•15

What makes you feel guilty?

Jackie Weger

Jackie Weger, Author

Are you plagued with guilt because you did not get around to writing 500 or 1,000 words in your WIP today, yesterday? Last week? Or, did you write those thousand words and slap bologna sandwiches together for supper, instead of the roast you defrosted and meant to put in the oven? A Mount Everest of guilt right there. Perhaps a colleague told you she had written her best book ever, that it flowed like liquid silk and, catching her enthusiasm,  you agree to read and review. You open it on your Kindle Fire and discover it composed like a business letter: double-spacing between every paragraph, no fewer than 14 adverbs on the first page and two different spellings of the protagonist’s name. Now, that is a lava flow of guilt because your colleague gushed over your last book, tweeted it, and interviewed you on her blog.  Yep, might as well paddle on down the Styx River and be done with it. If you thought I was gonna give some advice about all of the above, you guessed as wrong as misspelling Czechoslovakia in Word and believing in auto-correct.

There ain’t no cure for guilt.

Here is what makes me feel as guilty as overdone sin. I don’t create and post blogs often enough. I don’t write warm and fuzzy memes to entertain my fans. I have been trying to find time to get into this Word Press page and compose something I.N.T.E.R.E.S.T.I.N.G. for weeks. I am drowning in guilt because every site I’ve visited recently tells me I need to have an effective

99¢ Hearts & Kisses 99¢

99¢ Hearts & Kisses 99¢

social networking plan. I need to e-connect. I need to e-produce. And every dang site that buries me in guilt, wants to teach e-how to write a blog.  Three titillating tips on the page. Next, take a 14 hour virtual webinar course for $149.99 or just download the book for $9.99. I am wise to that hype, sit on my wallet, but the guilt lingers like skunk essence.

I haven’t written a word in my WIP for a month. I have not been idle.

  • I administer eNovel Authors at Work in which our basic tenet is paying-it-forward. Forty+ authors and three or more always have books in promotion [spread the word], sitting for interviews [comment], need  help with a blurb [pull my hair out].
  • We meet 24/7 in a private Facebook page and there is always a new task at hand, new information to share and pick over.
  • I administer two webpages, two blogs, three Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts and two Google+ pages. Well, three, but forgot I have the third. It is D.E.A.D.
  • I also produce a newsletter promoting eNovel author’s books.
  • I set up  and arrange group events–book tours every month, Rafflecopters every month, hire banners built and distributed to members.
  • Right this minute, I have three titles scheduled for promotion–two single titles and one in a boxed set with eleven other authors. One single title is in Bookbub and that is a major event. To compliment the Bookbub,  an author must surround the Bookbub with other promotion, submitting the book to dozens of sites.
  • A boxed set has its own rules and must be promoted in preorder, a promo service hired to create a Release Day Blitz and promotion slots reserved and paid for–all of which has to be coordinated and scheduled to the minute.
Poster  for book signings

Poster for book signings

The past six months have been painful for indie authors. Sales are down, Kindle Unlimited hammers our royalties. We have to step up our game. To do this, I put out the word for translators for our bios in German and French in hopes of catching the bi-lingual reader’s eye. We found them, hired them and learned to negotiate those foreign language Amazon sites. I, along with other indie authors have ignored our print books. No longer. Those of us who can, have scheduled book signings. Not less than ten for me in 2015. That means designing and printing advertising posters, bookmarks and other swag. Some of us have registered and paid for conferences. I picked a convention in Las Vegas. Yolo!

Gosh. did I mention I’ve published three titles since September 2014.

I know I managed some achievements. It is right here in black and white, and I still feel fogs of guilt. The last two chapters in my WIP are shouting at me. I’ve left my poor characters hanging in the wind. Not the done thing.

And, all I want to do is go to Bingo.

Here is footnote. I read a blog a few weeks past about writer’s block. The blogger suggested authors should volunteer at hospitals or mission kitchens for a fresh approach. Huh? I looked the  guy up. He has a day job, has never volunteered at a hospital or fed the hungry, and has not written anything new in a year or more. He is coasting. Here is a fact. Indie authors don’t suffer writer’s block. We don’t have the T.I.M.E.

I’m not alone, am I? What kinds of creative guilt do you suffer?


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  1. Dale Furse says:

    Jackie, you have nothing to feel guilty about as far as I see. You are one busy girl and there’s only so many hours in a day. WE can’t change that no matter how much we might want.

    I have decided not to feel guilty anymore, it’s just too much of a downer. 😀

  2. Boy, can I identify! Truth is, though, I think we’re harder on ourselves, and expect more creative productivity of ourselves, than most people would even find reasonable.

    For months I fretted that I didn’t have enough time to concentrate on writing a new novel. Between commitments that are important to me – to my community, to fellow authors, to promoting my books, and especially to my family – I had to come to terms with what I could do right now, rather than what I couldn’t do. I realized that I did have time – even with a 2-year-old to wrangle – to write short stories, so that’s what I’m doing. And it’s amazingly enjoyable and satisfying.

    You’re doing so incredibly much that’s productive, Jackie. Time to kick guilt to the curb and go play Bingo!! LOL

  3. KJD says:

    Hi Jackie,
    Amusing and informative post.
    As for guilt, not me. I’m a sociopath. Mwahahaha.

    Wishing you worlds of success in 2015.


  4. David WInd says:

    Guilt is one thing, being busy is another. You are a very busy lady!

  5. Neil Ostroff says:

    The best line is the last line. I have never suffered writer’s block–just lack of time. Great points about feeling guilty, I do all the time. Especially when writing a new book. I tend to leave my platform behind and immerse into the story. You certainly do have the drive for success.

  6. Julie Frayn says:

    Jackie, with everything you do, you still feel guilt? I’m trying to let the writer’s guilt go. I’ve got too much daughter guilt piling up. It’s bad for the heart, bad for productivity (and, frankly, bad for my mother). You are so right, no time for writer’s block. Every few available minutes is a chance to get some wordage in – or some editing. But I won’t feel guilty for unplugging either, and letting some minutes pass in complete non-productivity. Have to find my own kind of balance and give myself a bloody break.

  7. Rebecca Dahlke says:

    Good Grief! I should have so much energy! As for guilt, I’ve met authors who tell me that they commit to 15 minutes a day. Now there’s a tight schedule. I’ve committed myself to that 1,000 words per day on this new book. I don’t plan on writing the next great American novel. I know it’s crap because all of my 1st drafts are crap. Every few days I give myself permission to do “research” … translated as a day trip to Bisbee where I can schmooze with the locals, eat ice cream. Cheating? Nah! It’s RESEARCH, and I come back energized and happy. See? Ice cream cures all guilt.

  8. Pete Barber says:

    Well, if your intention was to make me feel guilty with that list of accomplishments–you knocked it outta the park! You are one busy woman.

    I too feel the social media guilt trip. The problem with the meme about writers’ must-have social media platform is there’s no real measure of worth. And call me cynical, but I suspect that many of those who write “The eight things you must do online to be successful” are building their platforms with the very guilt trips they’re laying on me.

    It seems to me that you’re focusing your promotional efforts in places where you have proven reasons to believe they’ll help you sell books. Shouldn’t feel guilty about that, Jackie–that’s just smart.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Pete Barber! That is exactly my point! “The eight things you must do online to be successful” are building their platforms with the very guilt trips they’re laying on me. That is it exactly. What do they know? If I were not an indie author with books to promote, I could compose a blog a day and teach ehow. Those guys don’t write books to reach anything other than a niche market–authors! Social media is just that. We forty authors in eNovel are networking and selling books to readers. We are not only a platform but a unit that functions together for success. Here is a funny. I didn’t know how to compose a tweet when I had my first Bookbub. I had 74 followers on Facebook. I just bought promotion. Over 75,000 readers downloaded The House on Persimmon Road. Twitter is useful. I don’t knock it. Learning balance is everything. Being a bit jaded is good. Keeps us alert.
      No Perfect Secret

  9. Donna Fasano says:

    Jackie, guilt has been an evil, little troll sitting on my shoulder most of my life. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

    Donna Fasano
    Author of Following His Heart
    Join my Street Team: Prima Donnas

  10. Sometimes, I wish I could run away from it all…escape to a tropical beach where I could read all the books I don’t have time to read rather than struggle with my writing career. (“Hey, Andie? How can I go Elsewhere?” LOL.).

    Constant pressure can quash creativity–and being an indie author is very stressful. I can barely keep up with SM much less my WIPs. Indies work 24/7. I feel more guilt about satisfying my obligations on SM than I do about my lack of writing time.

    You’re an amazing person, Jackie–a dynamo. I can’t keep up with you!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Linda: You don’t have to keep up with me!Or any other writer. You just keep up with yourself. By-the-by, I know just the tropical beach. I lived on a island for 6 months. Every time a sloop anchored in our tiny poor man’s harbor, and hoisted a USA flag. I paddled out in a leaky hand-carved native canoe to trade English language books. Now, of course, I can just load up my Kindle, but lose the fun of trading and meeting so many interesting people. It doesn’t hurt a thing to step back and sort a career. I love what I do. I have the time. Most indies are not 75 years old. I am. My brain still works. I’m using it. the rest of me sags in the middle.

  11. Mike Markel says:

    Like the others who have commented, Jackie, I think you work very hard, not only on your own projects but on others’ projects, for which I am very grateful. You have taught us all a lot.

    I don’t feel guilt as much as disappointment. Guilt would be an appropriate emotion for me if I felt I had an obligation–to readers, to literature, to humankind, whatever. But I know I play in a much smaller ballpark than that. I’m trying to produce entertainment. If I fail at that, that’s no reason to feel guilty.

    Disappointment? You bet. I’m disappointed with myself all the time, and for many reasons. As a writer, I’m disappointed (primarily but not exclusively) that I don’t write better and write more. As a person? How many words do I get in one of these posts? Are my fifty minutes up yet?

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Mike! What a comment. I am not disappointed in myself–ever-because I have people standing in line only too happy to point out all of my flaws that disappoint them. Pfft. The only reason I have a roof over my head right now is my daughter was embarrassed I was living in a horse trailer. But! Hey! The thing cost more than the mobile home I’m perched in today. And the dang horse that lived in it’s end of the thing cost more than both trailers. I’m happy with backpack and a tent. Actually, I love it. And Bingo!

  12. Jackie, go to Bingo with a clear conscience – you’ve deserved it.
    And may all your numbers come up!

  13. Guilt – oh yes, how well-acquainted we are! And I’ve been in that situation where I’ve swapped books and can’t decide whether to stick my head in the oven or tell the person I can’t review it cos I don’t do 1 star reviews. Yikes. But the major guilt train that I tend to ride is the one where I get to do anything but work on my wip. And I don’t even wish I could clone myself so that I can manage. I bet even if I could, the two of me would still do other stuff. So, know that I feel you. Still, you and I are are totally two different creatures. You’re amazing at managing your time and you get those books out! Hopefully one day you’ll write a ‘how to’ book and tell us how you do it 🙂

  14. Great post, Jackie. I think every writer must feel creative guilt from time to time. I’ve had it for over six months now, during which I wrote nothing. But I was lying fallow, like a farmer’s field, the soil of my subconscious being enriched, until some spark woke it up. I won’t
    say what that spark was, but I wrote something for for the first time in months, a short story, in one sitting.

  15. Kathy Rupff says:

    Great post, Jackie! So glad I found you via Bookbub. As a creative person and new writer, I think you’re amazing!!! No, you’re not alone! Keep being wonderful you! I deal with guilt for not bringing in a steady income (yet) like some of my other relatives my age. I look forward to reading No Perfect Secret! Thanks so much for sharing!

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