Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Pitfalls of Being Married to a Writer

On 3/28/15, my husband and I celebrated our twenty-one year wedding anniversary. In honor of the occasion, we dressed up and went to a nice Italian dinner and followed that with watching a romantic movie. Our anniversary is one of the two days a year I can slide a chick flick past him. In case you’re curious, my birthday is the other.

Being married to an author isn’t easy. My husband has to put up with what I’m sure are annoying behaviors. Today, in honor of my husband, and his never ending support of my writing career, I thought it would be fun to reflect on these bad habits he suffers with a smile. So here we go…

“Honey, my computer isn’t working! Again!” I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve uttered this phrase or some variation thereof. It is my expectation that he will immediately drop everything he’s doing to race to my computer and both diagnose and fix the problem. Of course, he has to do this with me standing over him, either glaring or tapping my foot or pacing or all of the above. He should not expect me to have any idea why it’s not cooperating. Any question asked of me will likely be met with “I don’t know what happened. It just stopped working".  And heaven forbid it takes more than ten seconds for him to get it up and running again! We won’t even talk about what happens if he can’t fix it. Obviously, that is not an option.

“Oh my God! I just lost everything!” Having to revisit this is painful, but there have been times when I’ve toiled for hours, days, weeks or months only to have some snafu, usually computer related, result in the loss of my manuscript. Twice I’ve lost a whole novel, but it’s more common to lose the day’s work. As any reasonable author would do, I have a nervous breakdown. I shriek and scream and cry and beg my husband to work his magic to retrieve my lost work. And he’d better not dare ask me if I’ve been backing it up or saving throughout the day. I don’t need to hear that. I just need it fixed, damn it!

“I’ll be right there. I just want to finish this paragraph, chapter, section, etc.” Once I get in my writing zone, I don’t want to stop. I can’t stop. I need to get these last lines out or I’ll lose the brilliance that is me. And since you can’t rush greatness, “right there” does not always mean the same thing to me as it does to the rest of the world. As a result, my husband is stuck waiting until I finish before I’m willing to acknowledge his existence and grace him with my presence.

“You want to go where? When? Oh, um, okay, I guess.” This is something I say nearly every weekend. Being that I have a day job, weekends are prime writing time for me. My husband has a day job too. While I want to write on the weekends, he wants to go somewhere that often requires both our attendance. As much as I don’t want to go, I can’t ignore him forever so I have to give in. More often than not, my reluctance to leave my computer comes through loud and clear. Good guy that he is, he always promises to get me back home and back to work as soon as he can and never complains at my obvious irritation.

“Hey, I have a question.” This is never a good sign. My husband always cringes when I start a conversation this way. It usually means I want something. When it comes to my writing, I either want him to help me figure out how to do something I can’t be bothered to learn, like converting my word docs to e-books or editing PDF documents, or I want him to be my subject matter expert on a topic I want to include in my books. Think baseball or auto repair or computers here. Of course I expect him to know the answer to any question I ask and to be able to immediately do whatever I want.

“Hey, I need some money to…” This is another cringe worthy opener. Being an independent author isn’t cheap. Even with social media, there is still a cost associated with producing and promoting my books. Since I’ve designated it my husband’s job to balance our checkbook each month, it’s likewise his job to work my writing wishes into the budget. And nope, there’s no room for refusing what I want. We, (read he) better find a way to make it happen.

My husband, and the rest of my family for that matter, also has to be on guard with me. You never know when I’m going to put something they’ve said or done in one of my novels. If they’re lucky it was something good, but sometimes it’s not. Even though I never call out the person that inspired me, he knows, especially when it’s my husband.

I could probably go on and on with these. They are no way representative of everything I’ve subjected my husband to over the last ten years that I’ve been a writer.

My husband is my cheerleader, my computer support guy, my graphic artist, my accountant and bookkeeper, my web designer and anything else I need him to be. He’s also my biggest supporter and the reason I can be the kind of author I am.

I guess it’s safe to say being married makes me a better author, but it sure does have some pitfalls for him!

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