|Aaron on top of the Matterhorn|
Do you qualify as a writer's spouse? Please use the following criteria to diagnose your current condition. "You might be married to a writer if … "
***If your spouse tells you they have work to do and then they get on twitter, Facebook, or start blogging.
***Your spouse jumps out of bed in the middle of the night and runs out of the bedroom … you don’t worry because you know they are just going to write down some story idea.
***You have argued about plots, synonyms, or people who don’t exist.
***While reading a book, your spouse constantly tells you how much better of a writer they are and there is no good reason why they can’t be published.
***Receiving an email from an “Agent” makes your spouse SO happy that you begin to question whether marriage or the births of your children are at the top of the list for greatest days lived.
***Your time to connect as spouses during the day is spent discussing more about the latest WIP (whatever that stands for?) than anything else.
***Your annual family vacation includes a weekend stop at a writer’s conference.
***You have to remind your spouse to do things like bathe, eat, pick up their clothes, do their laundry, or wash their dishes.
Ok, come on writers, don’t be offended, I needed to hook your spouse somehow. If they are at all like me and still reading this post then it's probably the most blogging they have ever done. Pssst Congratulations spouse!
I hope that the following 3 easy-to-follow guidelines will make your life better. As the spouse of a writer, I have made some dumb mistakes and hope that you may benefit from my missteps.
The Spouse’s Survival Guide to Being Married to a Writer
- When your spouse says things like; “This is too hard, I want to give up, why am I doing this?” They are not looking for you to agree with them. Just listen; they have had a hard day. Do things that make them feel better; like a night out on the town, an act of service, a favorite treat. Advising them to give up or to focus more on their pastels and paints will backfire! When they are sad they want someone to be sad with them, they are not looking for you to solve this problem. I repeat they are not looking for you to solve this problem, exclamation! Time will heal this wound and they will be knee deep in character development, pacing, and correcting passive voice before you know it.
- When they interrupt your television program to ask you about synonyms, characters, or plots, press pause on the DVR and listen. Don’t worry we will get you back to Person of Interest or The Mentalist in just a second. Give your spouse some of your genuine ideas, your spouse will quickly dismiss them as the most idiotic notions they have ever heard and tell you to return to your program. Don’t be offended by this, just smile and understand this is part of the creative process. Sometimes they really don’t want your ideas at all and just need to talk out loud for a minute.
- Remember this is their dream. It’s what they think about when they have nothing to think about (and sometimes when they have much else they should be thinking about). I have found great joy and liberation in supporting my wife’s dreams and goals. If I had to get a second job to pay for a writer’s conference or professional edit, she knows I would do it, because I love her. If this dream is never to come to fruition then let reality kill this dream, don’t you be a dream killer. This is the love of your life, to have and to hold … to support no matter what. I know I am no marriage expert and nothing qualifies me to give advice. However, after 10 years of marriage I have learned that when one spouse has a dream that it takes a combined effort for that dream to be accomplished. Heaven knows Morgan has stood by me for some really crazy dreams I have had and never once did she try to kill it, and I am happy to return the support.
A note to all Writers: On behalf of your spouse can I just say: We love you! We love your creativity and passion. It's part of the reason we fell in love with you in the first place. We are your biggest support! And though the trenches of real life may mask how profoundly proud we are of your efforts, we ask you to give us the benefit of the doubt, and remember the good moments during tough times.
Oh, and when you get published (notice I did not say “IF”) you better darn well dedicate your first book to the spouse, maybe it can say something like:
“Dedicated to my loving and supportive spouse, without whom life would be meaningless, food would have no taste, and breathing would be without joy. This adventure and success celebrates us both, I could not have done it without you.”
Yeah, I think that would just about cover it. You can dedicate all your subsequently published books to old English professors, distant aunts, and other inspirations. The first one belongs to the spouse!
Did any spouses make it through this entire thing? If so, below are text boxes where you can leave comments. Or you can just write “AMEN!” and then tell your writer spouse that for reading an entire blog post they begged you to read that you deserve a day at the golf course with the boys, lunch out with the girls, or to finally give you that foot rub promised way back when they started that last WIP (whatever that stands for?).
Thanks, babe! (I think?) Personally, I think that me being a writer drives him to do mad things like this:
But heh, we all need to have our own "outlet" right? And I personally would rather be safe behind a keyboard...
Red. Head. Out. :D