It’s not easy being married to a writer. We are strange creatures.
Here are some useful tips on how to survive being married to a writer:
1. Accept the fact that you will spend a lot of your marriage talking about people, events and locations that don’t actually exist.
2. When your writer wakes you in the small hours with an amazing new idea for their next story you need to wake up, switch on the light and let them talk it through. Moaning about what time it is, how tired you are and what you have on at work is not going to help your writer. This is a big moment for them, it’s the birth of something wonderful. Your support is needed 24-7.
3. Marital relations and their writing ‘ups and downs’ will become interlinked. When their writing is going well you can expect good times, kisses and smiles. When their writing is not going so well you can expect tension, tears and tantrums.
4. When your writer emerges from fantasy world the best thing you can do is get them a hot, sweet drink, sit them down somewhere quiet and offer them a little food. Your writer needs to acclimatize to reality slowly. During this delicate time moaning at your bleary eyed writer about the state of the washing, the empty food cupboards and lack of ironing will cause immediate marital discord.
5. Accept the fact that your writer cannot read a book without commenting loudly on the plot, characters and the ending. You may want to read in bed quietly after a hard day’s work, which is great, however writers cannot keep book thoughts to themselves. Face it you are going to be interrupted and disturbed during bedtime reading. Try getting some ear plugs.
6. Tread carefully when giving your writer some feedback on their story. Think carefully about giving your writer some negative feedback like ‘that is really odd, don’t show that to anyone’ and ‘I don’t get it’. This is a minefield. Say something inflammatory and you run the risk of your shirts not being ironed, dinner being put in the bin and you being ignored. Think – is it worth the marital pain? The best option for you is to get your writer a ‘writer friend’. These special people are useful because they will happily discuss your writer’s stories for hours, they will be on hand to give the positive and negative feedback your writer needs and they will be a calming influence in your writer’s life. Writer friends can be found on blogs, in writing classes and in coffee shops by the side of motorways.
7. If you find your writer in floods of tears and distraught over the death of one of their favourite characters, in their story, here are the actions that you need to take to survive this tragedy:
– Place calming hand on the shoulder of your writer and in a reassuring voice say ‘we are going to get through this together’ (gentle squeeze)
– Reach for a black tie or armband
– Diarise a note to yourself for a couple of days later to turn to your writer (preferably with teary eyes) and say that you are struggling with coming to terms with the loss of their character.
8. If there is a character who sets hearts racing in your writer’s story and gives your writer that ‘dreamy, faraway look’ (nudge wink) suggest some marriage role play. You taking on the role of your writer’s special character in marital role play will help your writer in so many ways. Sigh.
9. When your writer is deep in fantasy world, don’t disturb them with ‘low priority’ issues like the dish washer needs unloading or the kids are squabbling.
10. Accept that your own issues regarding your car, the state of the kitchen ceiling, tickets for the next sporting event you want to attend and the next political election don’t come close in terms of importance and magnitude to the issues your writer is facing with their story.
Being married to a writer is tough. Remember the old saying – ‘what is good for the writer is good for the marriage!’