Thursday, November 05, 2009

feeling guilty part II

So I am once again feeling guilty (I think if you polled people who work at home you'd find that a large number of us experience this!). I am wearing my "pajamas" -- really my work out clothes because I didn't feel like getting dressed since I'm going to the gym later. I've been watching TV (not really, but it's on) and looking up facts on the internet all afternoon. I am, in fact, getting "work" done, but I put work in quotes because it doesn't feel like work to me. Since I work 3 days at BN I feel like that is what real work is--being tortured. The job really does feel like torture sometimes. Customers can be very difficult and I often feel like a social worker because there are quite a few mental patients who frequent the store.

Today, however, I am on break from that. I'm doing what I want to do. Somehow, though, it doesn't feel like work! I suppose that's why I feel guilty.

I don't want to say much about what I'm working on because I don't want to be copied, but I will say that it involves recycling old material that didn't make it into previous books.



Libby Koponen said...

I definitely feel the same way. It's ridiculous: writing is actually much harder than any job I've ever had (though more fun -- maybe not quite the right word, satisfying? -- too) and I shouldn't feel guilty -- as though I'm playing and goofing off when I write, but I do. It just doesn't seem like work.

But, I feel anxious AND guilty when I don't do it.

And sometimes -- on those rare days when I have written something I think is really good--I don't feel guilty but proud. I hope that doesn't sound conceited!

Anyway, thanks for posting this. I bet you're right that it's a feeling most freelancers have.

Libby said...

Hi Meghan,

I am a work at home illustrator and totally know this feeling!

I am learning myself right now to let go of the stay-at-home-guilt. Sometimes you need to not be completely on task too, or working "hard" to still be working? Creative work needs space to breathe and fly around. I make bad art when I'm trying too hard to "work". I think freelancers need to take cues from their gut and be easy on themselves, stay positive, and keep remembering how fun it is that we get to "play" for work.

I agree with Libby.

Thanks for posting this.
Good luck with the secret project!

Julia said...

I think maybe part of the guilty feeling comes the strain of trying to squeeze a career into what's left of the rest of the week after the necessary part-time-job-torture. It leaves you with 4 days to accomplish what you need to in a full work week, and no time off... And then if you have anything else going on, (like plenty of doctor visits) your time is completely gone.

At least, that's why I feel guilty.

I say don't stress about the pajama pants.

Libby Koponen said...

I didn't say anything about the torture job in my last comment because I have no good answer to it: you have to have the job because of health insurance, right? Is there any other way you could afford that insurance?
I have had jobs that felt like torture. I remember for awhile at Fidelity I sat in a cube under flurescent lights far from a window breathing that fake air all big modern office buildings seem to have....the furniture was grey, the wall-to-wall carpeting some hideous neutral color, and I would think every day as I sat there that it was like being in jail. AND I had to think and write about incredibly boring topics!!! Now as I've said I make about one-tenth what I made there and don't have health insurance -- but is it only the-grass-is-greener syndrome that makes me think that putting up with torture 4 days a week might be better than worrying about money all the time? I don't know the answer but I do know that I reached a point where I just couldn't do it-- physically (fibromyalgia got worse and worse) or mentally (articles explaining the changing tax regulations and how they affected your Fidelity annuity got harder and harder to write).
Ack! Those who have good part time jobs, trust funds, spouses who support them, or the stamina to work full-time and write novels are really fortunate!