Saturday, January 9

"The Arms That Hold You Up"

Hi, my name is Laurie Wood and I'm thrilled to be joining the Word Wranglers. We are a group of writers striving towards publication and enjoying the process, friendship, and support along the way.


In March of 2007 I wrote an article for the Romance Writers Report, called "The Arms That Hold You Up". At this time of year, we see blogs full of New Years Resolutions, dire prophecies of the death of print books, stats on how few authors agents actually contract during a year - in short, the beginning of a new year and new decade is beginning to appear somewhat depressing!


So, I thought I'd share some excerpts from my article, about the support we need from family and friends if we're going to succeed as authors. Nothing of value is ever created by someone all alone. If you're lacking support from your spouse, family, and friends, this can often suck the creative energy out of you before you've even sat down at your computer.


Do Any of These Sound Familiar to You?



  1. "You haven't written a book because of "x, y, and z" lately (fill in the reasons). You might as well quit right now.

  2. "You don't have a degree in English Lit or Creative Writing. What makes you think you can write a romance novel?"

  3. "You've queried 20 agents and they've all rejected you. Isn't it time to give up?"

  4. "You're home all day. Do you mind watching my kids while I get my nails done?"

Do you argue with your spouse about when you want to write? Do you argue about how much time your writing takes away from the family? Does your spouse have no interest in reading your manuscript? Do you argue about how much money you spend on contest entries, chapter dues, RWA dues, regional conferences, or the RWA National Conference?


You are not alone if you recognize yourself in the above paragraph. We all long to have a completely supportive husband, family, and friends. Although these following stats are two and a half years old, I'm going to share them in the spirit of what I found out in 2007.


For Unpublished Writers:



  • 4% struggled with fighting with their spouses over getting writing time

  • 4% struggled with disappointing their spouses over spending more time writing then with them

  • 4% had no support at all from family/spouse/friends for their writing

  • 2% said their spouse had no interest in their writing career whatsoever

  • 1% said they had no hope of going to RWA Nationals or other conventions - the other respondents left that question blank.

I realize these seem like small numbers out of 100%, but they're not small if they apply to your situation.


I spoke to C.J. Lyons, a pediatrician, writing instructor, and author of medical thrillers. Her take on support was this: "Your guy might be surprised if you accuse him of being unsupportive of your writing because he hasn't lavished enough praise over your latest contest win, or review. In his mind, he's been totally supportive because he's taken your car to get new tires and an oil change so you wouldn't have to cut in to your writing schedule, he's gone to a friends' house to watch football so they wouldn't disturb you, and most importantly, he's been bragging about you to all his friends and co-workers (although not in your presence). To him, actions speak louder than words - he just doesn't remember that you don't have a crystal ball and can't always see his motivations when he doesn't discuss them with you."


Here's something I've learned through the years of negotiating for time and money for my writing - your spouse will never take your writing seriously until you do. If you are consistently sitting down during the day or evening, (and yes, that may mean ignoring him at times) and doing something productive on your writing, he can't argue that it's not important to you. If he sees you playing Bejeweled, on Facebook, or even - blogging! - it's going to be hard to convince him your really need that extra cash to go to Nationals.


The important thing to remember is that writing to become published is your dream, not his. If we abdicate our dream to a demanding spouse or family life, and let our lives slip by without realizing the completion of a book to send to the desk or inbox of a publisher/agent, then we have only ourselves to blame. No one can take from us what we do not hand over to them.


In the end, it is up to us to write out or daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. The more you work within the situation you living in, the less stress you'll be under and the more you'll accomplish.


When you achieve your personal goals you'll be more fulfilled as a person - a more interesting and happy person - and your spouse and family will be proud to hand out your bookmarks and wear your T-shirts!


5 comments:

  1. Hey Laurie, welcome to the blog!!!

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  2. orses5@Welcome to the blog!
    I agree completely!

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  3. Hi, Laurie. Great message. My husband always called writing my "hobby" until the first advance check came. He got real respectful after that! :-)

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  4. This is an excellent post. A reminder motivation needs to come internally first. External motivation is just the icing on the cake. Well done.

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