Writing Talk: Are you an exercise in patience?

It’s rare that I go into my personal life here, though I don’t think of myself as a closed book because of it. In person, I’m often very forthcoming with details nobody really needs or wants to know about, as they pertain to things that would ordinarily be deemed personal. The writing, both the act, the specifics and the tenacious aspirations that have always gone along with it for me? Those are rarely shared.

If I know someone has similar interests, it’s easier to be open about it. I’d rather talk about writing itself than why I write, and even back before I entertained the idea of someone buying (or even reading) something I’d written, I still wanted to. I didn’t want anyone but myself to SEE it, but I still wanted to write.

Other writers are more likely to understand that, and perhaps would feel the same.

The key exceptions to the rule are my wife, my son, and soon, my daughter.

My daughter is lucky. She’s not affected yet. It will be a few years before she’s at an age where she can understand what her dad is going on about, and it’s a few weeks yet before Little Miss is due.

My son gets some of the torture. He’s seven in a month from today, and is a decent reader. I’ve dragged him along to write-ins, and he knows rather well that dad writes a lot. We sometimes tell each other stories in the car, or I’ll talk through the what-happens-in-my-story, but it doesn’t take up all of the time we get together.

My poor wife, though, she’s the one that cops the brunt of my writerly ways.

My wife sometimes writes, but by her own admission, she’s more of a reader. Even if I were writing fulltime, I would not be able to keep her hunger for the written word appeased. I haven’t made her read the first draft of the current WIP as yet, but she suffers through my descriptions and excitement about the writing process. Most tangents about progress, research and the like that I write about here, I’ve already discussed with her. She gets it all first-hand, and it’s not often that my writer hat comes off.

I can usually keep my internal editor at bay, but sometimes it slips out.
I can usually keep my internal editor at
bay, but sometimes it slips out.

Over the past few days, she had an unexpected stay in a hospital. I won’t go into explicit details, but it’s been a rough few days for her, and all just in time for her first Mother’s Day. Through the course of running about to do my best to support her, I also found that the hospital itself was giving me ideas. The automated food trolleys that roamed the halls, the demountable corridor linking buildings, it all echoed bits and pieces from the WIP.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence.

I also go to a writing group every week, and attempt to set aside time and space to write. I often have a means to write on standby, whether it’s making notes on my phone or having pen-and-paper handy, I sometimes stop whatever I’m doing or saying to make notes. I’m sure it can’t be easy, though it shouldn’t be a surprise to her. That’s not to say I’m not grateful, but (if you’re reading this, honey) doesn’t mean it’ll stop either.

Who make up your non-writing support cast, and what grief do your writing habits put them through?

3 thoughts on “Writing Talk: Are you an exercise in patience?

  1. My family feels your family’s pain.

    I go on and on (and on) about story structure, to the point my son is adept at picking up the plot points and pinch points in TV shows, movies and the odd commercial as I am.

    My wife tunes out and my daughter doesn’t care any more.

    What’s that song again? “One outta three ain’t bad”?

    And congrats on the soon to be addition…

  2. My husband doesn’t write, but he is great support to me. I don’t share what I write – even with him – until it is done, and then he is my beta reader. I value his input because he is always honest and fair. He doesn’t feel any need to counter good with bad or bad with good, he’ll tell it like it is.

    He likes what I write (sci-fi). Not only does he say so but I catch him trying to get me to give away bits of plot for the next in the series. I keep the plot to myself, too, though, and he knows it is important to me that he see the book fresh as any other reader would. If he knew what was coming, he couldn’t judge it the same way. Fortunately, he understands.

    He’s used to my foibles and is amused by them – my daydreaming, getting lost in stores or on the street or forgetting things – and he’s great at finding typos. 🙂

    I do talk about writing with him, but usually characterization or general points, going only into detail of the books I’ve already finished and he’s already read. Anything up and coming is secret.

    I don’t think he’s suffering for any of it… Well, he’s still smiling and we still hold hands. We’ve been together for over 30 years and I’ve been writing for over 40, so if we’ve come this far okay, I reckon we’ll go the rest of the way. 🙂

    He’s it for me as far as family is concerned (support-wise). We don’t have children, but neither his family nor mine care much for what I’m trying to do. There is no support and some abuse there, so I have very little to do with them.

    As for my husband, yes, I do realize how fortunate I am that he believes in me and values what I do. Without him, I would have to do it all alone, and that would simply not be as much fun.

    Cheers to you, your wife and your family.


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