Whenever someone is trying to pursue a creative endeavor, one of the first topics that comes to mind is discipline. See, you have to actually do something. Now for most writers, the ideal of a novel is alluring. In fact, many writers can probably complete the first hundred pages or so of a book in record time. However, it's all about following through and then forcing yourself to write eight more drafts, all before preparing to do a lot of leg work no matter who your publisher is. You want to know my recommendation? Of course you do. Guilt. Feel as guilty as a dog with irritable bowels.
The Upside to Guilt.
Once you first taste a bit of success in an area such as writing (although it can be just about any ambition), you'll feel guilty for every second you don't spend working to improve it. Whether this is finishing a novel or trying to excel in a more traditional career, guilt is a great motivator. The moment you love to do something, you'll quickly start to hate every moment you're not doing it.
Personally, if I shower too long in the morning I start to feel guilty. I'm thinking, I have to get this blog out. I have to finish these edits. I need to finish this story. I need to be doing more promotions. And so on. The good news is, I'll soon force myself to do all these things.
Consequently, there is a downside to feeling guilty. Duh, right?
There Are Two Sides to Every Guilt.
Guilt is a great motivator, and it can really help you meet goals. BUT it can drive you insane.
See, feeling the urge to always write (or whatever) is important, but if you start to feel guilty for everything you do that's unrelated to your passion, people will start to despise you.
Oh, and you'll burn yourself out.
I've had run-ins with such guilt. Every second during the summer I sweated over spending too much time in the sun and not enough time in a humid study "solidifying" myself as a writer. At least once I came close to blaming someone for taking too much of my time.
This was, no doubt, entirely my fault. I chose to step away from the desk, and sometimes it's good to simply walk away for a bit.
As always, this is my unwarranted and confusing piece of advice: Feel guilty enough to write a story, but not guilty enough to ruin your own.
You Might Always Enjoy:
3 Confusing Pieces of Writing Advice
The Importance of Being Organic
Getting Lost in New York
All Things Beautiful, VI
5 Ways to Overcome Guilt
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.