“Fun,” he said.
“No, it has to do with writing—oh, yeah, writing is fun,” I answer.
“Family,” Hubby says.
“Writing!” I repeat.
“Writing affects the family. Okay, Finances,” he says, before I can respond to family.
“Okay—quit with the F-words.”
I’m sitting on the sofa, typing like crazy because those are good words, and they all relate to writing. At least, in our household they do.
When I began my writing career, I had so much fun. I was learning—chasing poetry and filler markets, writing shorts as fast as I could, drinking coffee and hanging out with other new writers, talking the talk and dreaming the dream.
When I married, I didn’t want that to end. I’m sure most husbands (in the beginning) think, “This too shall pass” and sometimes it does. But if we truly have writing in our heart—it won’t. It’s ingrained in our soul; it’s a gift. And there’s nothing more satisfying except maybe being a parent.
The expense of writing sort of slips up on us, doesn’t it? After all, we purchased all those how-to books over a period of time. We have to have Internet, special programs for that new laptop. The dent in our finances really shows up once we discover conferences and contests. Those fees get pretty steep.
Suddenly, hubby wants to know what’s going on. Aren’t writers supposed to make money? Kiddos want to know why we aren’t listening to them anymore and why we’re writing in a notebook at their soccer games/dance recitals/science fair. We can say writing is our job—even before we sell that first novel, but how can our family really understand?
Hubby and I went to conferences together before daughter was born. We read John D. MacDonald and Ed McBain, plotted stories together, and talked ideas. From the number of rejections that hit our mailbox, he learned that publishing wasn’t easy. Eventually, Hubby sent out his own submission–a devotional that was accepted in Gary Chapman’s Love is a Verb. Well, maybe publishing was easy for him!
When daughter came along, we plopped a typewriter on her high chair and let her write her own stories. It worked. As a junior in high school she won first place in a writer’s conference contest—YA category. When she was 26 she became my editor; we wrote for a local magazine.
I realize all families are different, but if you don’t have support from hubby and kids, it may be that they feel they’re competing for your attention. Try making them a part of your writing life. Let them name the characters in your short stories, or suggest titles for your book. Have a plotting party with them. Create a fictional murder and ask them to make a list of clues that will solve the crime. You’ll be surprised at the fun you’ll have… and your hubby might better understand what conference fees are all about if he’s invited to that conference with you.
My writing is fun because my family is part of it. They understand that writing is who I am because, well… I’m pretty fanatical about it, and about them.
How about you? What do you think of getting your family involved in your writing life? Would it work for you? How? Why not?