Writer's Guilt by David Meyer

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  • Saturday, June 1, 2013
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  • Dave
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  • We asked David Meyer, author of the thriller, Chaos,
    and proprietor of the Guerrilla Explorer website, to let us share this "look inside" as he works on his forthcoming novel, Ice Storm.

    I am plagued by a constant case of writer’s guilt. Never heard of writer’s guilt? Well, read on…

    This is Day 5 of my humble little “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Yesterday, I edited the 18,000th word of the second draft. Just 72,000 words to go. Good lord, that seems like a lot. Especially since yesterday was a pretty tough day. I’m officially through the easy stuff. From here on out, it’s going to be a battle. I hope to edit another 3,000 words tomorrow. Then I’ll be taking a few days off.

    Writer’s Guilt – My Greatest Nemesis! And that brings me back to my first point. I’ve been writing fiction for a number of years now. But for a variety of reasons, I don’t have much to show for it. I’ve written countless scenes. And I’ve learned a lot about writing and myself. Still, I’ve only published one book (shameless plug: it’s called Chaos!). Because of this, I have trouble taking time away from writing. When I do, I get writer’s guilt. It’s this gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that I haven’t actually earned a break. It’s brutal, similar to the guilt I used to feel when I didn’t do my homework on time. Actually, scratch that. I never did my homework on time. Heck, I didn’t pay attention in a single class until I got to Business School (Umm…hi mom and dad…). But that’s another story for another time.

    The worst thing about writer’s guilt is that it’s ultimately self-defeating. Doing things, going places, living life…these things enhance fiction not detract from it. Plus, breaks can be enormously helpful when it comes to recharging mental batteries. But my brain doesn’t really care about such things. So, I get writer’s guilt before vacations. I get it before holidays. I get it before day trips. I even get it when I’m not actually missing any of my writing time. Weird huh? Oh yeah, I often get it well in advance of the actual break. And the guilt continues well after I’ve already taken the break. Strangely enough, I usually do fine during the break itself (note to self: take longer breaks).

    So, with a break coming up, you might think I’m feeling a severe case of writer’s guilt. But so far it hasn’t happened. Famous last words right? But truthfully, that’s a big deal for me. I’d like to think it’s because I’ve got a plan in place to finish Ice Storm. But maybe my brain is just tired of harassing itself. Regardless, I’m pleased.

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