Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tips From a Writer's Spouse

Guest writer Bryan answers your questions regarding the person you love and their writing addiction.
I think my wife might be going crazy.  Ever since she took up writing, she acts like a lunatic.  One moment she's weeping over how terrible her book is and how stupid she was to ever think she could be a writer; and the next she's dancing a jig in the living room because she just wrote the most brilliant paragraph ever.  She dreams of becoming a published author, but slugs me if I mention to anyone that she's a writer.  And by the way, is it normal to throw a party when you receive your first rejection letter?
I'm proud of her and want to be supportive, but I'm not sure what to do when she goes into one of her "spells."
Confused in Portland

Confused in Portland,

Writers pour so much of themselves into their writing that it often becomes a very personal experience.  As a result, each pitfall and victory is felt very close to the heart, often causing bizarre behavior.  I recommend these tried-and-true coping mechanisms used by writer-spouses everywhere.
  • Walking out of the room.
  • Rolling your eyes.
  • Gritting your teeth.
  • Raising a single eyebrow in disbelief.
  • Going out to eat.
  • Taking a long drive.
  • Walking the dog.
Combinations work nicely too.  The next time she's strutting around the house shouting "Woot, Woot" because she turned a 10 page chapter into 6, try raising an eyebrow, walking out of the room, and going out to eat.  Studies show that there's better than a 12% chance it will have passed when you return; that's twice as good as doing nothing at all, and a five-fold improvement over trying to be helpful.

Which brings up another important piece of advice. It is vital that you neither commiserate with your spouse nor point out any logical errors or fallacies in their thinking.  That will only antagonize them more.  It's best to simply stick to the list mentioned above until things level out.

All the best,


  1. I think that is a really funny post.

  2. My husband loved this! Great post Susan (and Susan's husband!)

  3. Great advice. All spouses of writers need to read this. :)

  4. lololol... Maybe I should save these and print them out as a guide for all future dates.

    Or maybe not. Don't want to scare them off... ;)


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