Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writing Guilt

With exams getting so close, I'm beginning to experience that same writing guilt I often get at this time of the year. It takes time to write something, to put some thought into it, to make the words matter and spread a message. That's in blog posts and books and poetry and every single bit of it adds to the guilt that I should be doing something else (namely: studying for the Dreaded Exams).

But then, I know what once exams start I'll need to write, to keep myself at a level of sanity that's possible to work in. I did the same thing during my last teaching placement, got a book out of it, and kept my stress levels down. I know what writing is what I need.

So why do I feel guilty about putting in some time to write instead of studying?

I think partly it's because I know how important all of this is. But that ignores the fact that I do get stressed out over exams and essays and teaching placement, and I need something to help alleviate that stress before I snap. Of all the options open to me to de-stress, writing is the only one that I'm any good at that will produce something of any real value.

And yet...

I can't shake the feeling. I try to, but I can't. Even writing this, I know I'm only doing it now because I need a break from Walt Whitman and the various critics we've studied this year. I know that I'll have time to finish my journal before I go to bed (because I type quite quickly and I have my plan all set out). So I have an excuse today. It's every other day that's a problem (damn every other day...). I have ten exams to study for. It works out at over twenty questions.

I could do what I did previously, and write about what I'm studying, so I can at least focus my thoughts on something. That's always a possibility. But I have to actually study first. I mean, today I did some work. A lot of it, actually, though I'm not done, but there's a whole lot more to go. It's not going to be as much fun as Whitman, that's for sure.

I suppose, in a way, I'm trying to explain away the guilt. I do my work. I don't always do it early enough to not have to worry about it, but I get it done. And I have plenty of time and very few plans in place that will stop me studying until my brain's melting out my ears.

Am I the only one this happens to? I know some people completely drop their hobbies when it comes to exams, but I can't. It's too much a part of me (plus, New Year's Resolution aimed towards making a good habit out of writing every day) to just give up for a month or two. I don't think I've ever gone that long without writing, not since I started writing properly. Certainly not in the past few years.

What do you think? Do I have anything to feel guilty about, or is this just me thinking I should be doing more?

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