Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things that make me feel guilty

I have this giant stash of magazines, and I feel guilty about it.

They’re not porn. I’ll gladly fan those magazines out on the coffee table and invite guests to browse at will.

No, the guilt-inducing magazine is Romance Writers Report. I get one every month as part of my membership to Romance Writers of America, and each time it shows up, I want to slam my head in the door.

It’s not a bad magazine. It’s actually chock full of amazing articles about the romance genre, the publishing industry, and writing craft. I desperately want to read every page of it from cover to cover.

But somehow, I fail to do that. On a good day I might skim the headlines on the cover. Most days I don’t even find time to do that.

The magazines get tucked in a lovely metal in-basket that’s reserved for the day I have time to sit down at leisure and read every article from start to finish until I am the most knowledgeable romance author on the planet. Other authors will whisper about me. "She's the one who read every article ever written in Romance Writers Report. She knows everything!"

As you might imagine, that day has not arrived. That means my pile continues to grow like an unwanted meat wand. It sits there leering at me, reminding me every day that I’m a poor excuse for an author.

I solved the problem temporarily by shoving the basket in a cupboard. Still, I have to open the cupboard each month to put the new issue on top of the pile, and the whole thing is beginning to teeter dangerously.

Maybe I should throw them all in the recycle bin. Maybe I should blow off my copy edit deadline and spend the entirety of tomorrow reading those magazines.

I’m not sure what the answer is here, but I know the guilt is getting to me. The last time the mailman showed up with a new issue, I ran screaming up my driveway and hid under the bed until he drove away.

Is there anything in your life that makes you feel inexplicably guilty? Something you know doesn’t truly warrant the guilt trip it heaps on you, but you still succumb anyway? How do you deal with it? Please share!

I’ll be looking for matches. And lighter fluid. And maybe, just maybe, if the whole stack goes up in smoke….


Unknown said...

Hey there, my partner has a similar magazine habit. I secretly farm them out to doctor's offices, other waiting rooms, charities, etc. The first step is to admit you're not going to read it then pass it along to someone else who likely won't read it, but they get to wear the guilt.

Have a great day!

Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

Have you considered sending some issues to readers?

I'd ask for them, but I have a stack of WRITER'S DIGEST with the same problem...


Sarah W said...

My greatest source of (possibly) unwarranted guilt is knitting socks.

I knitted one sock to a pattern and got bored so never finished the pair. I did this three times.

I learned to knit two socks at once, so I wouldn't get bored. Mom's been waiting two years for her birthday present.

My friend became so bored waiting for me to knit her a pair that she taught herself to knit and has knit herlsef a drawerful.

And from where I'm sitting right now, I can see six balls of sock yarn I bought to make socks for the kids. Last May.

Sigh . . .

Michelle Wolfson said...

I know writers aren't going to want to see this but I swear my intentions are good. Despite my "no response means no" policy, I have this fantasy that someday I'll respond to all queries. So I have a folder called "queries to say no" and for when I don't even have time to put them in there, I just leave them in my inbox, which is why my inbox is currently close to 20K emails. Guilt inducing? You could say that. But I never give up hope.

Jessica Lemmon said...

I hate to write another comment that begins, "OMG! ME TOO!" comment here, but at the risk of sounding like a desperate crony:


My RWRs are in a pile on a shelf, leering at me, taunting me. Recently, I decided that once a week, I'd grab one at random and write a blog about an article. I did it for the second time ever today. AND LOVED IT! ( if you want mark one article off your TBR list and read my clifnotes, instead, LOL)

There's that saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," and I think it's true of these articles as well. Sometimes I read one and "meh," other's I read one and "EUREKA!"

I could use some stockpiling tips, however. I only joined RWA last year and my shelf has not (yet) runneth over...

Matthew MacNish said...

I have this problem with books. I get a lot of books, and they pile up very fast. If only I had a minion to read them for me.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. I have that same stack of that SAME magazine!! I so want to read it. Each time it comes, but I don't. :( UGH.

Kelly said...

I epically fail at reading my Businessweek subscription. Luckily it is up for renewal and I tossed the envelop in the trash. No reason to pay for something I won't read.

Also, books. My TBR list must be 20-30 books high.

December said...

I feel guilty every time that RW report comes too.
I keep it in the bathroom until the next one comes along, and I put it into an Ikea Magazine storage box. Never to be seen again.

Jamie D. said...

Oh good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. My RWR's are in a pile by my couch in the living room. One I consider recycling every two weeks, but then I feel like I paid big bucks for them (since there isn't a RWA chapter anywhere near me), so I should read them. And the headlines *do* look interesting...

One of my goals for next week's vacation from the day job is to figure out what to do with those. Either assign 'em a keeper shelf, or recycle the lot. I might even flip through a couple while I'm at it. ;-)

But hey, you got a great photo op out of yours, so that's something. LOL

Gabryyl Pierce said...

I had the same problem with 3 different writing magazines. I finally surrendered and took them to my local library...who has all of them. Next stop, the local high school - they were thrilled to get them! My guilt is now soothed by the hope that they will help the next generation get excited about writing. And I have free space...for books!

Emmy said...

I finally tossed them all and went digital if the magazine was avaiable that way. And if it wasn't? When the new issue came the old one had to go, read or not. My magazine piles were getting way out of hand. And it's nice to be reading "in season". Reading about how to cook your turkey in March was getting old. LOL.

Anonymous said...

So what author has time to read writer magazines?

Michelle Miller said...

I used to have the same pile (but with Writer's Digests), then I found out what a resource the things are. For instance, I had a short story I'd been working on for about a year, and I'd been stuck, stuck, stuck. In desperation - and to kill time until my 'writing time' was over - I reached over and pulled the top magazine off the pile and paged through it, stopping only for short story articles.

The first issue didn't help. The second issue didn't help. Then, in the third issue, there was an article that had just the tip I needed. I realized I'd been looking at a secondary character all wrong. I changed one action sequence, added another, and I was off and running again.

Now, I look at those magazines as reference material and only worry about reading what I need, when I need it. Guilt gone!

lora96 said...

Ah...magazine shame. I had a FREE subscription to Kiplingers which I thought would teach me how to invest and maximize my savings account. I tried, really I did but I just hid from teh intimidated me and I finally threw them all away.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Books pile up fast. That picture you're using in this post is almost a dead-ringer for the one of Suzie Townsend (agent for FinePrint Literary Management). You should check it out and compare.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Yup! I have that exact same stack. I think I have some ancient Writer's Digest magazines around here somewhere, too. Every time I think of throwing them away I start looking through them - not enough to read them, but enough to decide that I will *someday*. Only, someday never comes, and that stack just grows.


Prudence, passing along the guilt...I like the way you think!

Shakespeare, I suppose I could offer them up to readers, but I'm not sure how many would want them! Most who would are probably already RWA members.

Sarah, I'm not supposed to laugh at your sock story, but I totally am.

Michelle, you seriously need to delete the ones that are over a year old.

Jessica, now THAT is a good idea. I'll have to check out the blog.

Matthew, don't even get me started on the giant pile of books I dragged home from RWA Nationals.

lynnrush, don't you feel like there's all this stuff you COULD be learning, but you're not? Ugh.

Kelly, your Businessweek comment reminded me of when I subscribed to National Geographic. I sooooo wanted to read it, but I never found time.

December, I like the bathroom idea. Maybe I'll give that a try.

Jamie, maybe if I had a pretty little magazine rack...

Gabryyl, good idea about trying schools or libraries. I'll consider that.

Emmy, I'll have to check if the mag is available digitally yet, not that I'm any more likely to read it that way, but at least I wouldn't be killing trees.

Suz, I'm sure they're out there SOMEWHERE! :)

Michelle, hmmm...maybe I should mentally catalog all the headlines as they arrive so I know what to look for when I need something specific.

lora96, I am not ashamed to admit that the only magazine I've ever been able to read cover-to-cover with any regularity is Playboy.

Michael, LOL, I've seen that pic of Suzie, but never thought of it until you pointed it out just now. She at least had the good sense not to wear a short dress!

Caryn, no joke, the recycling is the hardest move. I have faith that SOMEDAY I will read them, and the second I toss them, I'll desperately need something that was in one of the issues.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I feel guilty about the stacks of scholarly articles and essays that my professors gave me to read, mainly because I didn't actually read them. The ones I did read were difficult to understand, so I might as well have not read them. I keep them because I keep thinking I might use them someday, but I suppose I'd have to read (and understand) them first.

Melanie Sherman said...

Some evil person gave me a subscription to "Parents" magazine, which began arriving moments after my baby was born. During the first couple of months, I'd glance through it, but then I returned to work, and tried to be supermom, super-step-mom and superwife. That leaves little time for reading.

What kind of a parent wouldn't care enough to read how to be a good one? Talk about guilt.

My baby is an adult now, but any mistake she made or will make is directly attributed to my inability to sit down and read those magazines cover-to-cover.

Julie Glover said...

I feel guilty about the pile of scrapbooking tools and pictures that need to go into scrapbooks. After my best friend stopped being a scrapbooking consultant, I stopped. I was never deeply into it anyway. And now I'm too excited about writing to stop tapping on the keyboard and slap those precious pics onto pages in cute designs. My kids will think their photogenic days ended at age 10 if I don't get busy one of these days.