I’ve been feeling guilty for working on my own novel and finally beginning the last steps of publication. Not only has it been wreaking havoc on my mood but it has slowed me down a number of times. But why feel guilty?
Well, I believe it comes from an inner feeling that I must first serve others before myself and if there is a need I must fill it. Coupled with that I am mother to four children and any time I spend on other pursuits I am not spending on them. I have therefore, published a number of my husband’s books while setting mine aside and I have grown and birthed two more children since I began writing.
I can’t not write. The stories come and I grow restless if I hold them in, but somewhere in the back of my mind my art has been deemed frivolous and selfish….
The question I must pose now is, “Is that accurate and fair?
So this is where I call up my actual beliefs based on logic and my current mindset to answer a question that my ingrained but deeply buried beliefs are trying to answer for me.
Is it selfish to give my time to my art? In a sense, yes. It is selfish and it is also a very good thing to be just the right amount of selfish. Especially for a mother. Firstly, I matter as an individual and my happiness is worthwhile. This is my one life and I deserve self-love and self-care. We all do!
And secondly, as a fellow artist who happens to be my multi-talented little brother pointed out, my children will learn to follow their passions and achieve their own goals if they see me doing it. What role will they expect the women in their lives to fulfill if their mother relegates herself to only servitude? Friend, wife, co-worker, boss, or servant?
While it may in some ways be a selfish act to devote time to ones own endeavors, it is also innately selfless due to the nature of art.
Art is by nature an act of sharing, it is exression–an open invitation to the rest of the world to experience, learn, grow, laugh, cry, and share again.
Art cannot be selfish; to keep it from the world is therefore a selfish act. So by all means, find balance, but make time to selfishlessly devote yourself to the selfless act of creation. You deserve that and so does the world.