Writer's write. Writers may also blog, tweet, critique, whine (I'm a fan of that), outline, vlog, etc., but they all write. Or should write (and that's a topic for another blog as well).And since I promised to write another blog dealing with the "should write" part, I thought I'd go ahead and talk about that today. Up until a year ago, I was working full time while I was also writing. I've mentioned before that this often takes some sacrifices: I used to watch TV every night and now I don't, I used to cook dinner (or JP did) and now we don't that often. I used to have free time and gave up most of that as well.
I also spent a whole lot of time feeling guilty for NOT writing. My logic was this: if writer's write and I want to be a writer but I'm not writing, that must mean I don't want to be a writer after all. Writing became a lot like exercise: I know I like it once I start doing it, I know I feel amazing afterward, but it's often really hard to motivate when LIFE gets in the way.
One of the anecdotes I tell when asked about finding time to write is that I wrote a chunk of The Forest of Hands and Teeth when I was also prepping for a trial and working crazy hours. There were nights I'd come home and set the water to boil and write during the eight minutes that it took to make mac'n'cheese. What I don't mention are the weeks when I wrote nothing because of work, because of life, because I didn't know what happened next or just because I plain old wasn't writing.
Free time became so valuable to me then (because I had so little of it to myself) that I hated spending my precious little bit stressed out about something I felt I *should* have been doing, like writing (or cleaning, or cooking, or weeding, or reading, or talking with my family). And I finally realized something: if I'm not going to write, I'm going to own that decision.
I decided I was done with guilt.
I decided something else: not writing doesn't mean you can't or don't want to be a writer, it just means that maybe something else is taking precedence right now. Life isn't easy and it's certainly not easy to balance and juggle all the various parts of it. Sometimes you have to put all your energy into your day job or your family or whatever else and sometimes you need to come home after a long day and veg on the couch and let your brain recover.
There's a difference between passively deciding not to write (i.e. just not deciding to make time for it, not analyzing your priorities, just not getting around to it) and actively deciding not to write (realizing that now may not be the best time to fit an additional "should" in your life.) And if you make an active decision not to write, then own that decision. Enjoy the time you save and don't feel guilty for it.