Think Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Writing? Look Again

_MG_4042There’s a popular book I haven’t yet read called The Five Love Languages, written by Gary Chapman. This GoodReads search shows that comes in various iterations–one aimed at men, another at parents, and so on. Cumulatively they’ve been on the NYT-bestselling list for several years.

Their purpose, I gather, is to help us understand that an “I love you” comes in various shapes and sizes, some less obvious than others but no less sincere. We all have a dominant style. (Comments indicate those categories are  quality time, words of encouragement, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.) We could all benefit from speaking the native language of our partners, and accurately decoding their communication. Pretty tragic when translation gaps lead to hard feelings or divorce, when both parties are in earnest.

Guess which communicator type I married?

Well, you don’t have to, because the photos below will make it clear. Let me explain first that I’ve retreated to writing on the laptop again in a bedroom nook, largely because I have zero self-control and I can make it harder to gain Internet access. To enable comfort, I asked for an appropriately sized plank I could lay across the armrests of my chair. This is what the ToolMaster made me from scrap wood he had in the basement:



It features:

  • Two beverage holders, sized to fit my thermal mug.
  • Legs, for when I want to switch it up and write in bed.
  • Raised edges–small jiggles won’t send pen and mouse careening.
  • Carrying handles, which also diminish its weight.
  • Furry models are extra. (That’s Maya to the left, Needles to the right.)

Now keep in mind this was made by a man who doesn’t read fiction, doesn’t particularly care for the movie equivalent of what I write, and has yet to see a positive balance sheet from this writing gig. Am I lucky or what?

In anticipation of your question, no, he’s not ready to make this a side business.

If you write, does your partner support your endeavors through words or deeds? If they seem indifferent, could it be that you’re misunderstanding their “code”?

PS: In an unrelated matter, I was up on WU last week and forgot to direct you there. Despite my tardiness, it’s not too late to comment, and it’s certainly not too late to read. Stop Feeling Like an Author Wishbone: First Do No Harm 

Photo courtesy of _MG_4042 on Flickr

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40 thoughts on “Think Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Writing? Look Again

  1. A lovely lap desk. Great support ya got there, Jan.

    My hubby is very supportive, too. In both words and deeds. We’re lucky gals.

  2. I love your lap desk. It’s very much like on my Dad helped my then 6 -year old daughter build for me. Also out of scrap lumber in the basement. Brings back such great memories of my dad.

    BTW my husband is very supportive of me writing. He keeps saying thinks like “I’ve never seen you happier.”

    1. Really, Amy Jo? How sweet. Do you still have it?

      I don’t think the ToolMaster would say that about me. I’m happy, but challenged of late, which can make for some hair-tearing and scowling between bouts of delerium and joy. Glad you’re on fire!

  3. My husband reads a great deal – but not the sort of stuff I write. I think the first and only time he ever read something of mine was when we’d first begun to date – apparently just to assure himself that I wasn’t crazy or delusional. Since then, he’s been my biggest support. Doesn’t want to read anything I write, but wants me to write, urges me to go for my dreams, barely blinks when I want to make a hefty financial investment in, say, a new website design. πŸ˜‰

    1. How fortunate for your marriage and career that you’re somewhat attached to reality. (Joking, in case that’s not obvious.)

      Can’t wait to see the website, Ramsey. You either have to invest time or money for a reasonable one, there’s no two ways about it. Glad he’s got your back on this.

  4. Excellent point, Jan! It took me a while to realize that though my husband doesn’t read fiction (at all–he’s strictly a news guy) he doesn’t have to read my work to support me. He takes the children and gives me time to work, and cheers me on, and talks me down from ledges, and reminds me that my goal was to sell a book, and everything else that may or may not come later is extra.

    And, like Ramsey’s hubs, he didn’t get mad when my large investment was a new MacBook I bought myself for a birthday gift, waaaay before I had a contract.

    1. Sorry, LynDee. Your comment got snagged by the spamcatcher for some reason. You’re such a trouble-maker. πŸ˜‰

      The ToolMaster reads, but it’s always non-fiction or news. He’s all about the useful stuff, which I understand. I hardly read fiction for years. When I was working, though I probably most needed it then, I didn’t have time for anything I wouldn’t implement. I’m curious to see if the TM will shift when he retires, because once upon a time he read mysteries and thrillers.

      It’s easier when we don’t have to love the same things, isn’t it?

      And I’m jealous of your MacBook. I can’t justify one, but they look so handy.

  5. Jan, how lovely. My husband doesn’t read at all. No, that’s not quite true – he has read The Art of War several times. He always quotes it to me when I’m feeling discouraged at work about people I deal with. But that’s another story…

    Despite never having read anything I’ve written, published or otherwise, he is convinced that I am the most talented writer on the planet and any accolades I receive from outside sources surprise him not at all. I take that as unconditional support, for which I’m very grateful.

    1. That sounds pretty wonderful, Deborah. How interesting that he’d read the Art of War. Was that connected to you, so he’d understand what you’re going through, or for himself?

      1. Jan, it was read for himself. He’s not a reader, but still immensely curious about how things work, the universe, life purpose, spiritualism, etc. To be honest, he keeps a CD of Art of War in the car and that’s how he “reads” it. πŸ™‚

  6. That’s awesome! The Toolmaster rocks!

    I read that book actually, and I marriedthe verbal lover. So lucky me, my husband heaps praise on me regularly and I try to do the same for him. It’s a pretty good read isn’t it?

  7. Very cool! Give the ToolMaster props from a fellow carpenter, and know that I totally understand the post, from a fellow well-supported writer (that has yet to impact the balance sheet in a positive way). We’re the lucky ones, aren’t we Boss? Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  8. Jan, what a great post to read at the end of the day. Just put my WIP to bed so I can got start dinner. My wife does the balance of the balance sheet provisioning for us. So yes, I’m well familiar with just how incredible it is to have a supportive spouse.

    I’m also a woodworker, and have to say Major Kudos to the ToolMaster on that project. πŸ™‚

    1. That’s right, Aaron, you would have a professional opinion to render. Will pass on your kind words. (Do you prefer Aaron or AJ?)

      Congrats on the supportive wife. What’s for dinner? πŸ˜‰

  9. My husband isn’t a huge reader, but he’s always been spectacularly supportive of my writing. A bunch of years ago, he was away on a trip and I mentioned our mutual favorite author, Joshilyn Jackson, was auctioning off a crit read on ebay. I logged on to watch the auction (I didn’t have an ebay account and didn’t have the funds to bid, either) and watched some crazy person keep raising the amount. It took me about a half an hour to realize that it was, in fact my husband! I kept checking the computer and SHRIEKING. It was the best birthday/christmas/anniversary gift ever. : )

  10. I got a lap desk for Christmas last year, but no drink holder! Awesome.

    My husband supports me with gifts for writers, but I think he’s not getting it quite right, even though he’s trying. Getting better. Last year I got “How To Write a Paranormal Romance Novel” and “On Writing Horror”. Whoa, Nelly! I write Suspense/Thrillers, but okay.

    This year for my birthday he bought me “On Writing” by Stephen King. Much better! I can’t wait to see what I get for Christmas THIS year. πŸ™‚

    1. Whoops on the genre-confusion. πŸ™‚ On the other hand, there is some overlap, even if the books weren’t on the nose. I can’t read horror, but it can be excellent for micro-tension.

      “On Writing” is fab, isn’t it?

  11. Love this post and your new desk is awesome! Two cup holders? Totally fab! My hubby doesn’t read fiction either, Jan. He would NEVER pick up books like I write, but like yours, he shows his support in other ways. I can’t tell you how many times in a week he e-mails me an article on writing or a blog post he’s seen on reddit. He does the laundry and cooks the dinner when I’m under pressure for a deadline and brags about me to his friends and family. He might not have read my book, but it doesn’t matter. He believes in me and I know this is his way to show support. I don’t know what I would do without him. We are lucky to have such wonderful spouses.

  12. This is one of my favorite posts ever, Jan. I just love how your husband’s love for you, on this particular day, translated into into a tangible expression you literally lean upon. He knows you so well–right down to the size of your mug. He anticipated your comfort with the weight adjustment and varying the usability, he demonstrated he knows something about what you do in understanding how the pen does roll at inconvenient times, and he made the piece beautiful to please (or inspire) you.

    Best love story of the week. Made my day. (sigh.)

    Oh! and my hubby shows love with deeds, too–and I reciprocate. Regardless of which of the five love languages we emulate, I know I’m damn lucky to have him.

    1. “I just love how your husband’s love for you, on this particular day, translated into into a tangible expression you literally lean upon.”

      In turn, I love this, D. What a wonderful analysis! Thank you. (And for the larger feedback. For various reasons, I almost didn’t post this. Goes to show what I know about a blog post’s likely reception. πŸ˜‰ )

  13. I’ve yet to find a husband (at all) but my dad was very supportive of whatever I did. When I was little he caught me running around with the hammer and a few nails. He took me to the shed–where he taught me how to pound a nail without hitting my thumb. Then he said, “okay, you know where the wood pile is.” I didn’t actually build anything but my confidence was reinforced that day.

    1. Phyllis, it’s been so long since I’ve had a young, crafty person in my home. Woodworking involves a different kind of bravery and competency than what we (I) mostly talk about these days. I wonder how many kids have that kind of freedom and reinforcement that you gained with your dad.

  14. That lap desk is amazing–and I agree with another commenter that it’s a tangible symbol of your husband’s love, awesome! I feel very lucky that my husband is also very supportive of my writing — listens to everything I write, brainstorms with me when I’m stuck, and even lets me blog about him. Great post!

  15. I love your new desk tray, Jan. I’d want to borrow your Toolmaster, but I have one of my own. He’s makes me a footrest b/c my feet didn’t reach the floor. He made me a stand for my papers and binders b/c I needed one and never got around to getting to the store. And one year, I came home from a trip that coincided with my birthday and found a new computer, monitor and printer hidden beneath my desk. Yeah, he doesn’t read my books either, but he sure ensures all other aspects of my life are taken care of without me asking. πŸ™‚

  16. What a fantastic desk!
    My husband isn’t an avid reader, but he reads my blog posts and anything else I might pass on to him. He often shares my links on Facebook or through email. The biggest support though, is his faith in me. When I decide that I will NEVER write again and that the book will NEVER be complete, he quietly insists that I will, it will. I hang on to that.

    1. That’s wonderful, Lisa. I’m mostly grateful the ToolMaster doesn’t read fiction at all, because it would be harder if he selectively disliked my writing. But it’s got to be a wonderful feeling to have a spouse with specific and informed faith in your work, rather than a generalized feeling that you’re awesome.

  17. Jan,
    I saw this post a while back & I meant to get over here & comment sooner. So sweet. What a cool desk. And, this is such a great reminder of how much our loved ones support us when we’re not paying attention. We (or I) always assume the “take that week off for a writing retreat, dear” to be something of a benchmark of support, but it’s in the little things where it all comes clear. And, the little things mean so much more.

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