Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Merci beaucoup, mon amour ...

This week, I’ve been thinking about my husband. Yeah, Valentines Day is coming up, but just before that we’ll celebrate our wedding anniversary – 16 years of matrimony, to be precise. Holy crap. That makes me feel old … but mostly, really blessed to have spent that much time with someone I really like. And who likes me back.

Now, don’t go rolling your eyes and clicking away to check you emails; this will not be a saccharine-coated, schmoopy tribute to my husband. What I’ve been thinking about is how having someone’s unwavering support plays such an important role in a writer’s life.

The three fine ladies with whom I blog are an awesome support. They’re always there to laugh and commiserate with, to critique each other’s work with honesty and clarity, to cheer each other up when the writing doldrums inevitably strike, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. But for the day to day, my DH is here at ground zero, and I know writing would be so much more difficult if I didn’t have his support.

I once read a letter to the editor in a writing magazine in which a female writer related her husband’s antics whenever she sat down to write; lots of huffing and puffing and stomping around the house, tirades on how selfish she was, how her “little hobby” was taking her away from her family who needed her constant and undivided attention or the world just might end … What a manipulative jerk. But imagine having to face that every single time you sat down to write? It would wear you down to dust. Little wonder the woman had decided to set aside her writing until she was retired … or divorced, more likely.

Now, I’m not saying my DH has always been happy about me writing. I know there have been times when he wanted more of me but my head was off in my fictional world, and I can understand his irritation. But for 99.9% of the time, when it comes to my writing, his attitude is “go for it!” And sometimes, he really pulls out the big guns and shows me how truly he means this … such as a few years back, when the kids were all small, and he booked me in to a hotel for a whole day and night with the instruction to “just go and write.” And in a few weeks’ time he’ll have the kids on his own for a Saturday (no mean feat, as that’s the day they need to be run here, there and everywhere for cricket matches and dance lessons) while I attend an editing course. And, the piece de resistance, his gift to me last Christmas - two French coins, an 1874, five franc piece, and an 1881 two franc piece, the closest he could find to the decade in which my book is set.

I think I’m pretty damn lucky. With that kind of faith and encouragement, I have no excuse at all not to finish my book.

So, who provides you with practical and moral support for your writing? Whoever it is – a partner, a friend, a writing group – just remember to give them a big “thank you” from time to time. They make what can be a tough and solitary gig, a whole lot easier.


  1. I'm pretty damn lucky with my writing support too. My DH not only encourages me, but he's a great sounding board when I write myself into a corner. He doesn't read everything I write (my choice. I don't let anyone read as I write anymore--I find it too inhibiting), but if I throw a hypothetical situation at him, he's great at bouncing back creative ideas.

  2. Linda - sounds like you have a great sounding board in your DH, and a wonderful source of support. Makes all the difference, doesn't it?

    And I totally understand not letting anyone read as you write. I do exactly that, so I'm not constantly second guessing myself and worrying that what I'm writing is a pile of crap that no one would ever think is any good ... "writing with the door closed" is the term coined by Stephen King, I think. Ah, the mind games we must play with ourselves in order to write! (g)

  3. I love the gift of French coins! That's so thoughtful!
    I couldn't ever show anyone what I write until it's at least in draft 3 or 4. Much too nerve wracking. And silly, if they start nitpicking on stuff I'd fix myself anyway.
    Joining the Forum was terribly exciting for me - to be finally surround by intelligent, level headed adult writers (instead of, well, things like:
    people who start writing out of boredom but don't know what they're doing and ask you strange questions like "I don't really need to research, right, because I can just write about what I know about ancient Rome/the Napoleonic Wars/the Protestant Reformation and my story will hold its own?"
    people who don't write and keep asking why you don't just publish the book yourself
    people who don't write who, when you send them a sample of your writing, don't read it and never get back to you with feedback
    people who want to write but who never read
    people who want to write but never read and also have never lived - so they have nothing interesting to say
    end of rant)
    I've also got DH and my mom, both writers, who understand the process quite well, especially enough to understand how long it takes!