Living With a Writer

Perhaps the person who should write an article with this title should be the person living with a writer rather than the writer. Since the writer is the one who writes, however, it gets to be written by the writer. If you, like my husband, live with a writer, here are some things you might want to know:

  • Patience. Just be patient, please. This is especially important if you don’t understand the creative process. 
  • Creativity is not an excuse; rather it’s a way of thinking that is different than the kind of thinking required for everyday existence. 
  • Know that your writer has to have the ability to think both ways, and they have to know when and how to move from left-brain to right-brain thinking. Sometimes this is really hard. Sometimes this causes them to be scatterbrained. 
  • Your writer requires both space and time. You know, “a room of one’s own and all that.” A place with a window that preferably has a nice view, for staring out. A place to pin notes of inspiration, ideas, writing advice, and and plans for writing. A place for books. A place that has multiple cups filled with every kind of pen, pencil, marker. Note paper of various sizes. Very likely your writer is an office supply nerd. I am.
  • Give them the time they need to write, to think, to read, research, to daydream. All of that is writing. 
  • Space also relates to sound. 
  • Encourage. The other week my husband after overhearing me tell writer friends that I had written 2,000 words in two hours, woke me up at 6:30 to tell me he had it figured out. He made coffee (like every morning) and excitedly told me that if I start writing at seven, I can have 2,000 words by nine. Who wouldn’t love a man like that! Such enthusiasm! 
  • Know that some days are more productive than others. Know that 2,000 or 5,000 or 100,000 words written does not mean 100,000 words closer to the end of a novel. Those words may not even make it into to the novel at all. 
  • Chances are, your writer regularly interacts with people you cannot see. They have conversations with these folks. They may or may not tell you about them. If they do, listen. I guarantee these people you cannot see, do some pretty insane things and their stories are fascinating! 
  • This is super important, if your writer is folding laundry, working a crossword, watering the plants or walking to the mailbox, they are very likely working out an idea in their head. When that is the case, they should tell you so; please respect this. 
  • Writers are always writing. Period. Always. 
  • Whatever you do, please never tell your writer what they should write. Please. They know what they are doing. If you have a writing idea, write it yourself.
  • Writing is an integral part of your writers life. They should be living holistically with their writing, so that everything they do is related to writing. If that is not the case, know that they are struggling to make it so. Support that.
  • There is an amazing world inside your writer’s head. If you are patient and supportive, it will be revealed to you in its final glory. 

These are just a few thoughts that have come to me. If you are a writer, please feel free to add to this list. I am fortunate that I live with a person who, while he may not always “get” it, he always supports and encourages me. 

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