Posted Thu, 02/21/13
As a writer, one thing you will likely discover in quick fashion is the lack of moral support from various people around you. Positive reinforcement is almost a non-entity, even from those closest to you.
A writer's friends or family typically fall into two categories: dismissive or encouraging. Unfortunately, more than one of my former husbands fell into the first peripheral category. Instead of being swayed by naysayers, I tend to dig-in deeper. One has to cut away the negative people and situations in order to keep on. To that end, I've frequently become the "dismisser" rather than the one being dismissed.
Writing is a very solitary business, so it's a good idea to realize it early on and learn to cope with all that it entails.
People who are dismissive also fail to recognize that writing is real work, not a passing fancy or hobby. I recently came across a post at the Fiction Writers Guild (FWG via Linked-In), which hit the nail on the head:
Support is most welcome and needed from the people in your lives. You must constantly fight to find quality time and keep on schedule. Just because you work at home does not mean you are always available, does not mean you can't find a real job and it does not mean you can mind the neighbors' kids while you write. When I am reading a pile of magazines, scrolling through websites, taking courses, talking to writers, talking to editors and publishers, writing notes on any scrap of paper I find...I am working, not wasting my time or having fun.
The comment was made by author Ron Mahedy, who is a member of the Fiction Writers Guild group to which I also belong.
People often assume you can drop and run anytime just because you work from home. Would you constantly interrupt someone else if they worked in an office outside the home? Of course not, but to me it's the same thing. Writing is work, plain and simple. And unlike the nine-to-five variety, the job of writing has no set time limits and always stretches well beyond the forty-hour work week and then some.
Other intrusive bits and my personal solutions for all:
Ringing phones (allow the answering machine to do it's job).
Knocks on doors (ignore them unless the house is on fire).
Calls of nature (hold until the last minute).
Bathing/grooming (wash and comb before you begin writing or you'll never get back to it).
Hunger and thirst (eat and drink as you work).
Sleep (only when necessary).
Caring for pets (take the time to feed, water, potty, play and cuddle). Rainee and Kiki are my two greatest sources of comfort and comic relief; they've earned my unconditional love and undivided attention.
Personal business outside the home (set aside one day to get it ALL done; re: banking, grocery shopping, medical/dental appointments, etc).
E-mail/social media/sales (pick a specific time each day to deal with correspondence, blog posts, social media regarding books and sales reports - for me it's early morning - and then don't go back to it until the next day).
Leisure pursuits (reading or computer games, but only after the work is done - usually after midnight!). Sometimes I give myself a whole day off (simply to recharge), but it's a rarity. I usually try a new recipe, watch the telly or read a book.
In regards to relationships, some men feel threatened by a partner who writes. In other words, not being the singular focus of a woman seems to throw most men for a loop. More than once I've blogged about my three previous marriages, as well as the contributing factors to the separations and/or divorces. My daily life or focus has never revolved around a man, which is perhaps another reason to add to the breakdown list. It requires an exceptional man who is fully confidant in himself to feel at ease with a woman who will not give him all of her attention. Such men are few and far between.
At this point in my life, I'm not willing to relinquish precious writing time to find out otherwise.
*Related blog post: Living with an Author (06/04/20).
Tags: Writing & Editing