Faber Session 4 – The Psychology of Writing

Just got back from a cold, wet and dark Bloomsbury.

I took shelter in the BM but eventually had to resort to getting the brolley out lol. Standing at the entrance watching the rain pour down I looked up….

What a fabulous building The British Museum is….but I wonder how many people actually notice as they rush in and out, intent on seeing the Mummies or the Rosetta Stone 😉

Anyway, where was I? Ahhhh, yes, tonight’s class 🙂

Ok, tonight’s session was taken up with Psychology. Interesting stuff about our writing coming from the unconscious mind. We talked about motivation, guilt, support, endurance, confidence, fear and patience.

I guess the two that struck a cord with me most were “guilt” and “support” really, as they kind of go hand in hand IMO.

Support: I feel incredibly lucky that I have the support of my other half with my writing. Now, that maybe because he wants me to hurry up and write a best seller so he can give up work, but we won’t dwell on that 😉 Seriously, does he have a choice? I guess so, he could sulk, make life difficult, moan at me….But perhaps he just knows that for a peaceful life he has to accept my writing time? I’m not the sort of girlie who will stop doing something I love because hubby don’t like it. But then again, he ain’t the kind of guy to stop me doing something I love. Give and take? Definitely! Mutual respect? Oh gawd yes! Our tutor was saying that most writers lack support. That’s sad 😦 And if that’s you…. (((((hugs))))) but, he then went on to say, that if that is you……BE TOUGH! DEFEND YOUR TERRITORY! 🙂

Guilt: Ok, so I have support…..so why do i still feel guilty? Guilt if the washing piles up, guilt if I’ve not been shopping and not cooked dinner, guilt if the house is a mess (and beleive me, the house is a total mess at the moment)….But the major guilt for me is the fact that i don’t work, don’t bring any income into the house 😦 Our tutor talked about writing feeling “indulgent” and I knew exactly what he meant. I can kind of justify my writing time, but what I can’t justify is sitting and reading. How can I do that when I know we’re down to our last toilet roll and that hubby will be home soon hungry and tired? I hate it, I really do, and that’s why I don’t read other than when I go to bed and I’m exhausted, and then I don’t benefit from it anyway *deep sigh* 😦

I don’t know what the answer is. Tim (our tutor) says its one of those parts of writing that we have to get use to, deal with. And I’m trying, I really am….. Perhaps I’ll feel better when my writing actually brings in an income? 😉

How’s support & guilt for you? Is it more relevant to female writers? Especially those with children? Would love to hear your views.

44 thoughts on “Faber Session 4 – The Psychology of Writing

  1. I have writing friends who support me, but that’s it. As for guilt, I don’t have a husband or kids so my level of guilt is minimal to nonexistent.


  2. I guess there has to be a trade off. Be happy pursuing your dreams with perhaps little financial reward or work, not pursuing your dreams but adding to the financial pot.

    I do the latter, and struggle to juggle even more balls in the air. My view is that we are all a long time dead & should follow our dreams, then again, I am not so good at following my own advice!


  3. As a single mum I don’t get a choice on the earning an income bit. My partner lives 150 miles away and, by necessity at the moment, we run two separate homes. But I do get a lot of support from him and my two daughters. The guilt thing I’m pretty sure is my own invention and not anything that anyone else is forcing on me (but it’s still there lol)


  4. You won’t feel better when your writing brings in an income, Vikki – then you’ll just have pressure to continue bringing in an income added on top of the guilt! (or maybe that’s just me 😉 ) Seriously though, everything your tutor says is true, probably even for established writers. There does seem to be something indulgent about writing, although I’m not sure it seems that way to those around us. Madness, maybe 😉

    To paraphrase Susan Jeffers, I try to just feel the guilt and do it anyway. If you had a perfectly tidy house, spend all day shopping and cooking and going to the gym you wouldn’t be happy, and then hubby wouldn’t be happy either. It is worth it, and so are you xxx


    • Ha ha ha, oh great Jo…..so it won’t get any better? Lol 😉

      You’re right…..I did use to spend my life doing that. At one time (a few years ago now) I would spend all day every day cooking and cleaning. I felt completely brain dead 😦

      Thanks Jo, I know you’re right 🙂



  5. Oh gosh you must read even a couple of pages during the day. I’m exactly the same but quality reading is nice when you’ve finished your writing. Like a reward.


  6. All of the above, food for thought. You certainly are a long time dead. Looking forward to Nano – Im really quite organised this year – even to the point hubs and son are away for the first 11 days of it! Just wish I could give up the day job though. Hoping to get into more of a routine with the writing that I can continue after November.


  7. When it came to discussing writing guilt trips i did you notice a difference in the attitude of the male members? This is NOT going to be a man bashing comment – just that I think men are better at saying “this activity interests me and I am going to spend some of my time and some of my money doing it and there’s nothing wrong with that…” I think we women should learn from that. Read a wonderful quote from an American Writer (Rose McCauley ? 1920s?) saying that women spend so much time keeping house that it is hard to get around to doing the important things in life. Ended with.”…don’t keep house and see what happens. An house unkept is better than a life unlived.”
    We should have it stuck above our computer screens! Stuck to the washing machine….


    • Ha ha ha, yes Bridget, the men were very quiet 😉

      LOVE that quote! Trust me, my house is VERY unkept at the moment because I AM trying to LIVE 🙂

      Owe you an email honey, but got a stinking cold so I’m a bit slow today *sniffs*



  8. Vicki, as a person who waited a lifetime to get to “it,” I can understand the need for support and the guilt of taking up family time to write and read. Can’t do one without the other so we are in a box. Spent the time I could not use to write to be an reader and gave birth to a reader. As for support … I feel like Blance and have always relied on the kindness of strangers 🙂 Many professionals will tell you, the last place to get support is at home. You are blessed to have a spouse that is so supportive 🙂 Oh, and after a certain age, it’s best to give up smoking, most alcohol, caffinated beverages and GUILT !


  9. I’m very lucky in that my husband has always been my biggest cheerleader. He doesn’t give me a hard time for disappearing to the bookstore for hours and hours and he always asks me if it was a good night of writing. I love him so much for that. 🙂


  10. Being a single girl, I donn’t have to think too much about support or guilt just yet. Which is one of the reasons why I have chosen to stay single, for now. Muhaha.

    It’s great that your hubby is supportive of you. 🙂 Hm, I think feeling guilty is normal for every writer, but it sounds like your husband is fairly understanding of your need to write and sometimes, you may need some help with chores and such when the writing process really takes off. Besides, the pay off down the road could be significant when your book is a best seller. 🙂 And from your posts, everyone can see how important your fam is to you. So don’t be too hard on yourself. xx


  11. One of the speakers at the Writers Digest conference talked about this issue. He said something to the effect of . . . golfers who don’t get paid to golf have no guilt about pursuing their passion and calling themselves golfers. Writers who don’t get paid to write have tremendous guilt about devoting time to their passion, and a hard time calling themselves writers. Why? Doesn’t seem fair.


  12. I suffer from tons of guilt. I don’t get all the support I would like, but that doesn’t stop me from writing. Guilt stems from that, but the other option is to give up writing. I’d be miserable and I’d think of myself as a failure. I’d rather have the guilt if I had to choose between the two.

    I think when we make it about money, the guilt sets in harder. We feel like we’re supposed to be published in order to justify the writing. If we taught ourselves to make it about something else, like treating ourselves daily, perhaps the guilt wouldn’t be so bad. People spend oodles of money on manicures, facials and hairdos, and they don’t feel guilty. Why is writing any different?


  13. Indulgent. The perfect word for the way writing makes me feel at times. My husband is very supportive as well. He wants me to do this as much as I do. Probably because I’ll only truly be happy when I can write! As for guilt, I don’t feel that as strongly as I do support–but like I said, I get the indulgent thing to a tee. Great question!


  14. These posts are just so useful – I feel as though I’m on the course too! I’m often a bit lacking on the support front which makes me feel as though I’m doing something irritating that I shouldn’t be – I WILL DEFEND MY TERRITORY! And you must stop feeling guilty! Thank you, Vikki! 🙂


  15. I’m lucky that my husband is supportive of my writing (I think it helps that his job is creative too so he knows some of what’s involved emotionally) I don’t feel guilty about the time I spend reading and writing (I do work full time too and might feel differently if I didn’t)

    You need to read as well as write, I think. Could you mentally allocate some of your writing time to reading rather than considering it as totally separate and therefore not justified in the same way?


  16. You’re so lucky that hubby supports you, but I guess if he were any different, you probably wouldn’t be together 😉 I have a wonderful supportive hubby as well and it makes a world of difference – he loves cooking, so that also helps!

    Thanks for sharing all this great info – I’m finding it very interesting reading 🙂


  17. Fittingin the writing is tough. I work full time and the job takes up at least 50 hours a week. Add in the hubby, the kids and life in general and it’s hard. So I tend to blog/tweet while I’m watching the news or tv, or making dinner etc – things where I can multi-task. Then after 9 is my time and I disappear to the bedroom to write. Everyone’s used to the routines at this point 🙂


  18. My husband draws and I have always supported him because I think he’s great. Recently I’ve started writing more and I always draw comparisons with his drawing. Both things we love but can only dream of making money out of one day, but we’ll encourage each other, because doing it and trying is more important than not doing it. As for reading, I would rather do it than watch rubbish telly, so I do. I think the children love the fact that Mum reads and writes and Dad draws. Though I think he probably gets more cool points. My son is doing a mini Nano challenge alongside me this month. He’ll probably put me to shame.


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