The Care & Feeding of Our Support Systems

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It’s almost my birthday. Well, not mine, actually. On August 27th, it will be the first anniversary for the release of my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR. It’s the Book Birthday! Yeah, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Recently, I had a conversation with another author about cramming our writing life into our daily activities. So, it seems like the perfect time to repost a blog I wrote a while back. This post is just as relevant today as the day I wrote it. 

FROM 4/29/13:Once again, this blog was born from a phone conversation I had with a friend. While making a point, I realized I’d just thought of another idea that deserved a little discussion. How many of us work like dogs trying to scratch out a few minutes, here and there, to write? Yes, just about everyone. You’re lucky if you’re free to schedule your writing time around your life. If you’re that person, you may as well stop reading right now. But, most of us squeeze writing into our everyday worlds. If you’re that person, then I hope my comments will be helpful.

Me, in Captain Bulldog's arms, dancing!

Me, in Captain Bulldog’s arms, dancing!

My day job consumes the bulk of my conscious moments. Once I get home every day, my energy turns to all the normal family duties. When the basic chores are done, I rush upstairs to my office and dig in for the night. Hubby Dear has a longer work day than me, and I never know for sure what time he’ll be home. Through the years, we’ve settled on our evening meal being take-out a lot more often than I’d like to admit.

We have this “You fly, I buy” deal going. Whoever drives doesn’t pay for dinner, the one who stays home picks up the tab. That works in my favor when my budget is tight and against me when a deadline is looming. I’m sure this mode of dealing with the necessary evils of cooking and washing up has averted many an argument in the house.

This is where I have to stop and tell you that I’m probably married to the most supportive husband in the world. It would take a whole other blog to explain just how seriously he supports my writing. Just know that he understands how driven I am to succeed in this crazy writing business.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

The hours we writers spend at the keyboard can suck the life out of a good marriage, but we can’t forget to maintain our relationships. That’s an ongoing need and it’s easily overlooked. If we don’t put effort into our immediate support system, our loved ones won’t stick around long enough to help us celebrate when our dreams become reality.

We’ve all heard others say they feel like they’re butting their heads against a brick wall, that they’re never going to get a publishing contract. We’ve all faced those self-doubts. It’s inevitable. Well, a while back, I came downstairs well before bed time and joined my hubby on the sofa. Apparently, he knows me fairly well. He said, “What’s wrong?” Seeing that he truly was concerned, I relented and let the ugly truth spill from trembling lips. “I’m so tired. I don’t know if I can keep going at this pace. Maybe I should put writing aside…for a while.” His response shattered me to the core. “You’ve been working so hard. I hardly ever see you.”

Wow. Just…wow. This man, this wonderfully supportive soul obviously felt alone and he missed me. He’d been suffering in silence while I worked to perfect my craft. Talk about facing the grim reaper of failed marriages, if I didn’t change my routine, I stood a real chance of losing the best thing that ever happened to me.

Texas Bluebonnets

Love our Texas Bluebonnets!

We talked things over and I made some changes, right then. We now go on dates. Real dates. Dates where we ink our schedules with time for just the two of us, like once a week or so. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time, but it could be a weekend get-a-way, too. We started with a Friday night dinner and a movie. That was fabulous! The next week, both our schedules were pretty full so we enjoyed a simple but healthy lunch after Sunday mass. Last weekend, we drove up to a lake north of Houston, stopped at a restaurant overlooking the water and enjoyed the sights and the best burgers within three counties, drove the neighborhoods and picked out possible dream retirement homes, saw the Texas bluebonnets, and giggled like kids again.

Released: August 27, 2013

Released: August 27, 2013

The trip, though only a few hours out of the whole weekend, made us feel like honeymooners again. So worth the time.

That investment reinforced what we both need, each other. Giving away a few precious moments of writing time is like insurance against catastrophe. I’ve noticed since then that Hubby is even more excited about the upcoming release of my first novel.

I’m so fortunate to have my very special hero-hubby in my life, and to have had him fight for our marriage. Yup, I’m one lucky writer.

The whole point of this blog is this: I, alone, chose this career, this writing life. My family didn’t, but they’re left to deal with the consequences…the fallout, if you will…of my being there physically, but not in reality. It’s not always about us or our writing. Sometimes, it’s about our support systems. Hug your family!

Okay, I’m back. Take heart, y’all. With grit, determination, and one eye on the most important things in life, we can do it all–eventually. We need to know we’re not alone in this, the thing we can’t not do–write. Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Has that person ever hinted, like my hubby did, that you could spend more time with them? What did you do to remedy the issue? I’m needing ideas for my next Hubby Date, so please share. Thanks bunches, y’all!  


22 thoughts on “The Care & Feeding of Our Support Systems

  1. My hubby is supportive as well, but maybe for a different reason – if I’m writing, he can play video games without interruptions. 🙂

    How fabulous that you guys were able to talk it out. And congrats on your upcoming release.

    • Thanks Abigail! I love how you and your hubby compromise. We do make trade offs, right? You know how much I’m looking forward to reading your book, WHO WANTS TO MARRY A COWBOY. That’s right up my alley. 🙂

  2. Hi Jaye! Great blog post, and you know, it applies to more than writing. Marriage is hard work and worth the investment. My hubby is supportive of my writing too, and that’s so important.

    It’s why I write romance 😉

    • You’re so right, Selena! We have so many relationships in our lives that must be maintained if we want them to survive. It’s all about good balance. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Mine wasn’t so supportive. The rest is history. (As is my marriage.) Should there be a next time, I’ll know to put more work into the balance. Thanks for sharing your story, Jaye!

    • Carla, your shoes are fairly familiar to a lot of writers. Thank God we have each other to carry us through those tough times. I guess it could be worse. I can’t imagine being married to someone like a first responder. A police officer or fire fighter. My heart would be in my throat every time they went to work. That’s a rough way to live. You’re doing great, so hang in there. Hugs!

    • Hi Katie! Thanks for stopping by. Ireland is one of our favorite places. Now there’s a quaint lifestyle. Beautiful countryside, too!

  4. Thanks for sharing. What about movie marathon. On special weekends we often see three or more movies of various types. Lots of fun togather. Of course there are those weeks away at a lake cabin. Very destressing. 😉

    • Hi C.D., nice to see you here again. You’ve picked one of our favorite things to do. We’re recording THE HORSE WHISPERER right now for just that purpose. Love the idea of a cabin on the lake. 🙂

    • Hi Julie, I agree. We’re all so busy these days, no matter what our career-of-choice is, we still need our loved ones. Thanks for stopping by, and believe it or not, we’ve done the river trip. I dumped us over. Yeah, it was my fault. Got the pictures to prove it. LOL!

  5. This is days late, but you’ve been in my heart if not on the schedule. The third book of the trilogy is thank goodness in the hands of the editor, and to my surprise instead of sinking back on the couch I’m starting work on the novella I want for Christmas. Tonight my dear love and I went out to a restaurant we haven’t patronized since before my surgery and were greeted with old home welcome, and had the whole of dinner to talk to each other. Every marriage needs those transfusions–so glad you’re getting them, even gladder I am!

    How lucky we are to have the creative outlet of writing, and people to love us as well. So many people (now and through history) have had one or the other.

    Love you lots!

    • Awesome news, Beppie, on all counts. You’re looking–and moving!–really well since your surgery. (Folks, I saw her in RWA14 San Antonio in July.) Keep us informed on that novella. I’d love to read it! Big hugs, dear friend!

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