The greatest enemy of any hobby or artistic pursuit is guilt. I have seen so many people quit whatever it is they loved, simply because they guilt-ed their passion into a duty, and then guilt-ed themselves into resenting that duty.
Personally, this first developed with piano, in college. Any time I wasn’t in class or working, it was time to practice. Vacations? Time to practice more. Any free moment was for practicing. In fact, the year before I got sick, I would go to class from 8 am -1, work from 1-11, and practice from 11:30 - 3 or 4 am. (See how I got sick, LOL?)
When I started writing, it was more a matter of making money than anything else. Still, if I wasn’t teaching, or doing the business part of teaching, or doing the creative part of teaching, or practicing, I felt I should be writing.
That’s where the guilt comes in. Somewhere after "Yay! I’ll have X amount of time to practice my art!" comes the guilt. And guilt is like a cancer. It can eat up your love for ANY activity, before you can blink.
Don’t let it. Feeling guilty about not practicing your art can overwhelm your joy. Then the only way to get rid of that awful guilt feeling is to quit the art. How sad is that?
My current guilt? I didn’t write at the conference. I barely wrote this week. And now I’m on a cleaning frenzy, which means I won’t write for another two days or so.
Seriously, I write 5 - 6 days a week, like clockwork. During vacations, I pull 10 hour writing days. This not-writing has me in a bit of a panic to get back to it. But I’m determined not to feel guilty. I’m determined. My house has been a perpetual mess for over a year, because I always feel like I should be practicing or writing.
No more. This week, I’m going to finish cleaning this darned house, and I am not going to feel guilty about it.
Now about guilt. Sure, one should write five days a week if one wants to become a professional. But there’s a line. Use the guilt if you have to, but don’t let it ever make you quit. There are many reasons to quit an activity or art.
Avoiding guilt isn’t one of them.