I’ve been actively pursuing writing for over half a decade. And when I say I have, I mean my family has as well.
There are lots of posts out there about how to have success as a writer, but there aren’t many about those closest to the writers, spouses, kids, parents, friends, critique partners, etc.
When my husband married me, he knew I liked books and writing – I was working on an English degree after all. But I was not pursuing publication. This was not in the unofficial terms and conditions of our courtship, and didn’t even show up until we’d been married ten years.
So, I wanted to give a little bit of an insight into what it is like to support, care for, and nurture a loved one pursuing publication.
ME: What is the most difficult thing about loving someone chasing publication?
HUSBAND: Rejection. It’s not like miscarriage because an actual person didn’t die (characters within the book exempted), but it’s like miscarriage because something you created has the potential of not living the life you wanted it to.
ME: What do you wish you would have known when I said I wanted to write?
HUSBAND: I wish I would have had a better understanding that writing . . . I wasn’t conscious of how important it was for you to have a hobby until you spent so much time writing. Because since having this hobby, you’ve actually become more fulfilled.
ME: When did you know that writing was more than a hobby?
HUSBAND: It probably came as a result, over time, from the rejection.
ME: What impact has my pursuit of publication had on your life?
HUSBAND: I have become a guinea pig for how to react to certain situations, but also I think in some ways it’s made me realize that I need more drive in my life toward something. It’s also facilitated the ability to buy gifts for certain events to go toward creating a place for you to write. I’ll try not to milk it for every single event.
(we are converting an old shed in our backyard into a writing room. For Christmas I got wire, electrical outlets, a ceiling fan, etc.)
ME: Since I know there are times when loved ones of writers get put on the back burner, what do you think writers could do to be a little better during these times?
HUSBAND: If a writer has to meet a deadline, it’s a contractual agreement. The loved ones need to be understanding of what the ramifications are if deadlines aren’t met. But that can only be understood by a person supporting the writer. If they aren’t supporting that writer, it’s a difficult situation all around, I think.
ME: Are there non-deadline times when taking a back seat in a writer’s attention still feels appropriate?
HUSBAND: Just as long as it doesn’t interfere with other goals of being a loving person, a loving spouse, a loving parent. The biggest thing is making sure there is a mutual understanding of what it is that’s trying to be accomplished (other than when you pause a TV show in order to have me help you write a blog post…)
ME: What’s the best thing about being married to a writer?
HUSBAND: The potential of lots and lots and lots and lots of money.
(laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing)
Did you want me to be more serious?
HUSBAND: Watching someone chase their dream. And very seldom do you have a dull conversation.
Obviously, I’m of the opinion that I have one of the very best people out there, period. But part of the reason for this exercise, and the reason you got his responses verbatim is because having these kinds of conversations with the people who are supporting us are so very, very important.
We know about words and the power they hold, but that power is essential in the conversations we have with the people closest to us.
How have you seen support from people you love? What could you do better to deserve that support?
Tasha Seegmiller is a mom to three kids and coordinator of the project-based learning center (EDGE) at Southern Utah University. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with a hint of magic, and thrives on Diet Coke, chocolate and cinnamon bears. She is a co-founder and the managing editor for the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog as well as the Women’s Fiction Writers Association quarterly magazine, where she also serves as a board member. Tasha is represented by Annelise Robey of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.