I’ve wanted to do this for a while–ask my husband, David, nosy questions about being married to a writer.
First, you need to understand that I don’t ask my husband ANYthing unless I want a straight and honest answer. Just like George Washington, he cannot tell a lie. In married lingo, this means that if I’m nervous that a haircut might not look so great on me, I don’t ask him about it. Conversely, when he does praise me, it rings true.
Also, as the topic might indicate, it’s a little personal asking your spouse how your writerly quirks play out in your marriage. We writers spend lots of time in our heads, sometimes muttering melodramatically about our characters’ life situations. It’s like we’re crazed psychologists, determined to either a) fix these situations, or even better, b) make these situations MUCH WORSE.
But I felt I needed some perspective, and I figured you might get something from my hubby’s honest evaluation, too. After all, I don’t want to get all Sylvia Plath-y or Edgar Allan Poe-ish and not have my nearest and dearest call me on it.
Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m a wife and mother FIRST.
So here we go. I’ll throw a picture in here for ya. And now you see why I have a fascination with red hair.
HG: Hi, David (my, but you’re handsome…anyone ever compared you to a Viking?). When we married, you knew I liked to write. Did you ever think I’d try to write a book? How did you feel about it when I decided to try to write one?
DG: I think I hoped you’d write a book. You’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was delighted when you decided to write a book. When your writing career takes off, you’ll be realizing a dream that I have always supported.
HG: Have you noticed any habits/tendencies that creep up when I’m writing?
DG: You work furiously when you’re working on a book. You sometimes snap and snarl, but I’m in awe of your work ethic and discipline.
HG: Ahem. Well, a writer’s life is about balance, but sometimes I feel out of whack, devoting too much time to the writing and not enough to my family. Do you think there are some coping strategies I need to integrate more?
DG: I don’t know. I think you do pretty well. You don’t have much time for writing, but you seem to make good use of the time you have. If anything is out of balance, it might be the time you spend keeping up with friends on Facebook. Then again, I’m glad that one of us makes an effort to keep up! Sometimes you spend too long at your computer. I wish you took more time to get outside and enjoy yourself.
HG: You’re truly one of my biggest supporters. I couldn’t have gotten this far without you. What’s been the hardest thing to see me go through?
DG: It’s certainly the fear and the disappointment that every writer goes through.
HG: Any advice for spouses of writers? Or any parting words for this post?
DG: Writing is a job. It’s hard work. And, unfortunately, it’s work that doesn’t necessarily pay off. All that effort might be for naught if no one likes what your spouse writes. Sympathize with your spouse’s predicament. Help your spouse make time to write and then respect that time. On the flip side, help your spouse find ways to get away from his or her work. Finally, when your spouse talks about his or her characters or plot, listen respectfully. Don’t offer suggestions unless your spouse asks for your thoughts or otherwise signals that suggestions would be appreciated. Suggesting plot twists is sort of like telling a mother that her kids would be better looking if only they were a little taller/shorter!
HG: Ha! Yes, excellent advice. Thank you, David, for that glimpse into the writer-spouse’s world. I’ve definitely learned some things today! And I’m thankful you support me through all those highs and lows (or snapping and snarling, as the case may be).
****What about you? Does your spouse support your writing “habit” or wish you’d take a break? How do you balance your writing and family time?****