When Martha was an editor at a major publisher in New York City, one of her authors handed in his final manuscript with a dedication page that read:
“This book is dedicated to my dog, Spot, the only one who didn’t complain.”
Families with a writer make sacrifices. Behind every aspiring writer with a family is an engaged, supportive crew who knows how to give that writer what he or she needs to be able to work.
Writing is a solitary task and it takes time. While some writers like to listen to loud Rock and Roll while writing – think Stephen King – others need silence to be able to concentrate and access that zone where the words flow onto the page.
While the writer is in this zone, who walks the dog, shovels the snow, and keeps things going?
Behind every successful writer is a dedicated family, starting with a supportive spouse.
Being in a relationship with a creative type can be difficult. Maintaining a relationship with a writer requires patience, understanding, and communication, though communication is best performed outside of writing hours. Many writers will need psychological space, as well as time. A spouse who provides this combination plays no small part in bringing books to completion.
Children with a writer for a parent learn to be independent. There will be times of the day when mummy or daddy is working and needs to be undisturbed. This boundary is often tricky, because being at home and being available are the same thing in the minds of young children.
By maintaining strict and clear boundaries, however, writers can work. And the family can enjoy the knowledge that children who entertain themselves tend to develop better imaginations than kids whose parents pander to their every need throughout the day.
Finding the time to write is one of the top difficulties for writers. Writing often occurs during early mornings, late nights, and weekends. When we consider that being a writer isn’t just about writing books anymore, it’s understandable why most writers we know complain they need to be cloned.
Once the manuscript is complete, there’s social media and marketing to perform. In lieu of clones, many spouses are involved with marketing, blogging, website design, managing accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and more.
Although writing is a solitary activity, it’s also worth remembering that producing finished books is a team effort. Everyone in a writer’s family plays his or her part.