Living with an Author
Posted Thursday, 06/04/20
Being a writer has its ups and downs. Whether you're an amateur or a published author, the process of writing a book can be excruciating, peppered with bits of relief and elation. There are times it all feels like an emotional rollercoaster. Those who are near and dear to us can also feel the impact of the long process on a daily basis, which can also often prove the mettle of their character.
I've been writing for many years, long before I was even out of my teens. Throughout my life, every relationship and marriage has suffered accordingly. Be that as it may, I've never been able to relinquish my love of writing, no matter how much anger or resentment it may cause in those around me. To stop writing to please someone else is unthinkable to me, and in the end, proves to me the person involved could care less about my happiness and is only concerned with their own.
Granted, writing is not like a nine-to-five job where work stops at the end of the day. Writing goes on at all hours and on all days, sometimes for months on end without respite. Then again, there are those times the creative juices stop for a stretch, leaving an author with a sense of loss and frustration. In other words, writing is a never-ending process of imagination, creation, joy and despair, research, rewriting and editing, all with no set time frame. And when one project is complete, at least in my case, it's often right into the next one.
Seven years ago, my blog post Peripherals enumerated the life of an author, and it still rings true today.
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.
I'm very lucky now, at this stage of my life. My significant other gives me room to write and rarely complains. He does not protest when I take along my spiral notebooks so I can write when the mood strikes during our camping trips. He knows full well when I'm in writing mode and my mind wanders, and he remains patient, sometimes teasing me about it. "When you get that look in your eye, I know better than to start a lucid conversation with you." He even offers suggestions that have frequently found their way into my books.
One of my tendencies is to take care of mundane things (laundry, cooking, dishes, and other domestic chores) early in the day, if I can. I realize life happens and interruptions are inevitable. There is no way around it sometimes. That being said, the one thing that powers me through the slog is the knowledge that once I'm finished, I can settle back into writing again.
I never lose sight of what drives me in the first place.