PDA

View Full Version : Writing and family: could you have them both?



Albdantesque
03-30-2016, 06:21 PM
I have been in two relationships. My first ex hated books and asked for more attention. My second ex, asked for marriage.... and more money. As you can imagine, both relationships turned dramatic. So, I am wondering if there are any writers who have a full-time job, a family and at the same time they find free time to be creative. If there are such writers, I'd like to hear their advice on how they make it work.

Some of my favorite writers either came from aristocratic families, so they never needed to work, or they did not make a family... Is it possible to be good in writing and at the same time to work and sustain a family?

Maryn
03-30-2016, 06:56 PM
I suspect you'll find many of the writers here who are published are also married, work full time, and quite a few are also raising kids, some with special needs. We all get the same 24 hours in each day, and people find a way to carve out some time to write (and market) their work.

While I have the luxury of time, I know people here at AW who write during their lunch hour, take public transit instead of drive so they can write, get up a half-hour before the rest of the household, or have the cooperation of family and spouse to leave them alone to write Tuesday after the kids go to bed and for three hours Saturday.

I started writing in earnest while my babies napped, even though I wanted to nap, too. But it set me on the path to the million words I needed to hone my skills.

Maryn, whose youngest baby soon turns 30

RKarina
03-30-2016, 07:17 PM
Um... yeah, you can. But like any successful relationship, it takes work - from everyone.

These days, I'm lucky, I don't work outside the home - I have a few clients, support our family business interests, and write. Even so, family and work needs still get in the way. But I haven't always had that "luxury"...

Until late 2014, I worked full time, managed our household, and dealt with four kids (two with Aspberger Syndrome). We had four high school graduations in a row - 2012, '13, '14, and '15. Yeah, finding time to write took work. I was lucky, I had a supportive husband, but truth to tell - my relationship with him, and the needs of my family came first. The writing got wedged in where I could find the time.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with their time, and finding things that work, so there is no one-size-fits-all advice. For some, it means having a scheduled "writing time" - like getting up every morning and spending two hours on their writing. For others, it's more about finding time whenever they can. Or spending one day a week dedicated to writing. You do what works for you.

For me, what worked was spending writing time in the evenings - sometimes it was just an hour, sometimes it was several. Sometimes, I had to put the writing aside because... well... life.

But the key is a mutually supportive relationship. And I mean "mutually". The person who doesn't understand you taking time to write is probably not the best choice for you in a relationship. But you've also got to do your part for the relationship.

If you're working full time, actively involved in a healthy relationship, dealing with keeping up your home, possibly dealing with kids, etc - it does not mean you cannot write!

It may mean your writing happens more slowly - you may not be able to spend six or eight hours a day dedicated to writing your book. You may have to do it an hour here and an hour there, or have one day a week where you do all your writing. You carve out the time when you can, and you work with your partner to ensure that both of you are getting your needs met, and that the family and household are cared for.

If you want to spend all your free time doing nothing but writing, then yes, you're going to have a hard time keeping a relationship alive. Writing is work. So are relationships.

edutton
03-30-2016, 07:19 PM
I started writing last summer, on top of a full-time job, family (wife, one teenager) and a dedicated martial arts practice. I write on lunch break, at home in the evenings, basically squeeze it in whenever I can while not (completely) neglecting my family. I work fairly close to the dojo and both are far from my house, so I can sometimes get in 30-60 minutes writing between work and class... it's all about maximizing that empty space. And knowing when to stop and attend to the other stuff!

randi.lee
03-30-2016, 07:21 PM
I am a published author, a small business owner and the primary caretaker for my nine-month-old daughter. It's possible :-) It just takes work, and compromise.

Albdantesque
03-30-2016, 07:40 PM
Ok, thanks everyone for your replies. I was thinking to wait some years till I get some good money from my books and plays. But I see that money from writing come slow, or they never come. At the same time, the more I advance in my thirties the greater the pressure I feel to take a decision on family, etc. I was thinking academic career (though a hard of hearing person), but I see that professors nowadays are not so creative as one would take them to be (because professorship is a full time job too, sometimes more demanding than other jobs).

As some of you say, life has to go on.... it suffices that we find the right people to be with, and we are willing to make compromises. By the way, I take already care of my mother. If I ever marry, I guess I will have two families to sustain, a job, and writing :) Some of you seem to say that all of these are possible for someone with great energies within.

zanzjan
03-31-2016, 06:35 AM
Some of you seem to say that all of these are possible for someone with great energies within.

Yep. It's about having supportive, understanding people in your life -- or at least people who will leave you alone when you need it -- and being determined enough to find time in between responsibilities, or carve out time from other things (TV is a good one.) Totally doable.

Old Hack
03-31-2016, 10:38 AM
I have been in two relationships. My first ex hated books and asked for more attention. My second ex, asked for marriage.... and more money. As you can imagine, both relationships turned dramatic. So, I am wondering if there are any writers who have a full-time job, a family and at the same time they find free time to be creative. If there are such writers, I'd like to hear their advice on how they make it work.

Some of my favorite writers either came from aristocratic families, so they never needed to work, or they did not make a family... Is it possible to be good in writing and at the same time to work and sustain a family?

It sounds to me that the exes were the problem, not your writing. Demanding more attention because he or she hated books? That's unpleasantly controlling.

Lots of people--me included--find time to write while having a family. If a partner isn't supportive of your endeavours then there's a problem with that partner.


Ok, thanks everyone for your replies. I was thinking to wait some years till I get some good money from my books and plays. But I see that money from writing come slow, or they never come. At the same time, the more I advance in my thirties the greater the pressure I feel to take a decision on family, etc. I was thinking academic career (though a hard of hearing person), but I see that professors nowadays are not so creative as one would take them to be (because professorship is a full time job too, sometimes more demanding than other jobs).

As some of you say, life has to go on.... it suffices that we find the right people to be with, and we are willing to make compromises. By the way, I take already care of my mother. If I ever marry, I guess I will have two families to sustain, a job, and writing :) Some of you seem to say that all of these are possible for someone with great energies within.

Most writers never earn good money from their writing. Don't wait for success before you have your family: you could end up never reaching that point.

Albdantesque
03-31-2016, 04:42 PM
Most writers never earn good money from their writing. Don't wait for success before you have your family: you could end up never reaching that point.

Probably this is going to happen :)

RKarina
03-31-2016, 06:54 PM
I'll second the "don't wait for..." advice - it's one thing to say, "I will complete college before getting married." It's a completely different thing to say, "I will have a solid income from my published books before getting married."

The first is a concrete goal, with a clearcut process to achieve it, and (outside of finances, time, and grades) it's subject to fewer variables than publishing. The second is a wonderful goal, and while there are steps, they're far from clearcut (do you self publish, or get an agent, small press, or try for Big 5 only...), and there are so many variables that you can't create a reasonably accurate timeline. And yes, many writers are not making good money for their work.

Do what is right for you - education, career, relationship, lifestyle, etc - and make time to fit the writing into that.

AW Admin
03-31-2016, 10:38 PM
Moving this thread from AW History to Roundtable; carry on :D

gettingby
03-31-2016, 11:20 PM
I doubt the breakups were because of your writing, regardless of what your exes might have said or made you believe. I was in a relationship once with another aspiring writer. I was better (not saying I'm great) and took it more seriously and wrote far more often. There was this weird jealously. I think it was more about the fact that I was actually writing and not just thinking about writing that was at the root of the jealously.

I had another relationship end when I was working as a journalist and going overseas. Maybe I did chose writing of this relationship, but I really didn't want to be with someone who couldn't support me having a dream and following it. The right person is going to love everything about you, including you being a writer.

Fruitbat
03-31-2016, 11:40 PM
I think of an "ex" as a former spouse or serious live-in partner. If you are talking about boyfriends/girlfriends, you have limited things to work out together. If you can't meet up on the basics, it might just mean they're not going to be a good long term match for you.

When all your business is mixed up together, it becomes more complicated so more important to be able to work together and compromise. For example, I had a friend whose marriage ended because her husband seemed to think that just because he wanted to be a musician, that was all that mattered. He didn't trouble himself over what she wanted, whether help with the bills or housework or spending any time with her. At the other extreme would be when one spouse tries to forbid the other from having any time at all for their own interests, goals or dreams. And then there's how much there is to go around at the time and what other priorities there are.

My guess is that most people can carve out at least a few hours per week to write, most years, regardless of what's going on in the rest of their lives. Writing is quiet, free, solo, and doesn't even require leaving the house. I'd say it's really pretty easy on the other partner, compared to the other interests someone could have.

edutton
04-01-2016, 12:20 AM
Writing is quiet, free, solo, and doesn't even require leaving the house. I'd say it's really pretty easy on the other partner, compared to the other interests someone could have.
It takes less time away from my family than the martial arts, for sure... and TONS less then my brief foray into community theater.

Katharine Tree
04-01-2016, 12:40 AM
I'm married, principle caretaker of our five-year-old daughter, and we have our own business, which I work at. I also find time to write. Any time I can reasonably expect to be left alone for fifteen minutes, I write. While my daughter eats breakfast. While she's at preschool (which is a preciously short time, let me tell you). After my family is in bed for the night.

You don't say "I'm going to be a writer" and go at it full time, expecting it to support you. You do it because you love it and it keeps you sane, and if you're lucky, you get some filthy lucre on the side.

DancingMaenid
04-01-2016, 12:42 AM
I don't think this is specifically a writing issue. It's a matter of compatibility.

A romantic partner should respect your interests even if they don't share them. You also need to have similar ideas about how much time you need to spend together. Some people feel lonely if they don't hang out with their partner every evening or if their partner goes away for the weekend. Others enjoy the space. I think writers are typically people who do well spending time working on their own. You might do best dating other people who have hobbies or artistic interests that keep them occupied.

As for money, again, you need someone who's compatible with you in terms of living standards and goals.

Kerosene
04-01-2016, 12:45 AM
I was thinking to wait some years till I get some good money from my books and plays. But I see that money from writing come slow, or they never come.
As others have said, there's a chance that'll never come about. Doesn't mean it's a bad thing; other surprises in life can take over.


At the same time, the more I advance in my thirties the greater the pressure I feel to take a decision on family, etc.
I can understand the pressure, but don't let this get to you. Starting a family, as marrying and having children, is entirely up to you (and your significant other).


I was thinking academic career (though a hard of hearing person), but I see that professors nowadays are not so creative as one would take them to be (because professorship is a full time job too, sometimes more demanding than other jobs).
I don't know where you're getting this from. Sure, there are some professors who don't give a shit for their lower-level classes, but I know a great many professors (who are my friends now) who have amazingly creative and interesting classes. Many of the better classes are when the professor is allowed to teach how they wish to rather than grind out the shitty survey courses, but even then some profs find ways to twist that--I've had several professors allow for creative writing assignments instead of essays. It all depends on who's teaching. You speak to other students to hear who's a good professor, and try them out and follow all their classes.

Also, professorship isn't a dead job like working cashier at 7-11. Many professors start out as adjuncts who make little to nothing working. Pretty much out of the kindness of their hearts. Those who do make it to full-time are often working directly in-line with their field of study, thus they are passionate about it. While they aren't full-time scholars, they do support themselves doing and professing about what they love.

WriterDude
04-01-2016, 01:02 AM
I take some comfort from Published writers here that also have families and jobs. It's tricky, it really is.

My situation is about as unconducive to productive creativity as it's possible to be.

Two small children, both on ASD line somewhere. One of which is anxious, demanding and violent. The other is cuddly, demanding and needy. They can't be left to entertain themselves. It's well past nine pm now and they've been disputing bed time for over two hours. Sometimes they do go to bed and just sleep, but that's rare. The stalling tactics usually culminate in a fake asthma attack.


I work full time and I'm lucky to enjoy the job and the pay is respectable, but the work leaves my eyes strained every day.

I'm not a lone parent though but our own issues and the intense kids mean it's usually a two man job. Closest family is two hours away so we're pretty much alone. Our only breaks from the children are when we're in the office and both of us have work enough to occupy three or four people at least.

A writing space might help but the house has one bedroom, one reception, one bathroom and a kitchen. The TV is never off, the washing machine is never off, and I can't leave the house without causing a melt down in one of the boys.

Despite this. I do find time to write. But it's bitty. And I wouldn't swap with anyone because there's an awful lot of awesomeness welded to the stress and nonsense that is my family.

CWatts
04-01-2016, 03:03 AM
I'm married, principle caretaker of our five-year-old daughter, and we have our own business, which I work at. I also find time to write. Any time I can reasonably expect to be left alone for fifteen minutes, I write. While my daughter eats breakfast. While she's at preschool (which is a preciously short time, let me tell you). After my family is in bed for the night.


This. I need to make myself write in short bursts. I find myself brimming with ideas but not writing them down, plus I convince myself I need to research something which ends up following a Google trail down various tangents and there goes my writing time. I'm married, work full time and my son is almost 2, so it's hectic during his walking hours and difficult to summon the mental energy for writing once he goes to bed.

Albdantesque
04-01-2016, 08:01 AM
I doubt the breakups were because of your writing, regardless of what your exes might have said or made you believe. I was in a relationship once with another aspiring writer. I was better (not saying I'm great) and took it more seriously and wrote far more often. There was this weird jealously. I think it was more about the fact that I was actually writing and not just thinking about writing that was at the root of the jealously.

My second was in a similar situation, we met as bloggers and lovers of art. Later she was persuading me to give up writing in order to become "more responsible". That's weird when we supposedly attracted each other due to our love of letters and arts (but culture explains a lot too, in different cultures people show different demands from their partners). Anyway, she ended up being main character in two novels, that made things much worse, and whatever existed between us turned into hatred. In a few words, I do believe in what you say. Sometimes finding a partner from same profession is not as pleasant as people might think :)

Albdantesque
04-01-2016, 08:34 AM
I don't know where you're getting this from. Sure, there are some professors who don't give a shit for their lower-level classes, but I know a great many professors (who are my friends now) who have amazingly creative and interesting classes. Many of the better classes are when the professor is allowed to teach how they wish to rather than grind out the shitty survey courses, but even then some profs find ways to twist that--I've had several professors allow for creative writing assignments instead of essays. It all depends on who's teaching. You speak to other students to hear who's a good professor, and try them out and follow all their classes.


Good to hear this. My chances are really poor (bad hearing, heavy accent due to bad hearing, not having completed a PHD though I am 33), but I may give it a try (for PHD or adjunct positions). Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of those who pursue a PhD (let me say in my field, Philosophy) end up wasting their brains for their professors and writing books and articles that interest none. In final analysis, their tendency to turn into profession creativity and thought compromises everything they do.... and if you ever find a good writer and philosopher you will find out that she never received a MFA or PhD (or she received them in other times when schools were not like nowadays). Anyway, I can agree on that some smart professors/graduates may turn academic programs into their personal/creative advantage.... but these people are the exception, not the norm.

MaggieMc
04-01-2016, 02:13 PM
Consider what Elizabeth Gilbert said about getting a day job ...it's soul destroying working for nothing at writing ...sometimes practicality has to come first and you have to put a meal on the table. Stephen King worked every sh*tty job going to help support his family (his wife worked too) and he fit writing in whenever he could. It wasn't easy ...I'd imagine there were times when it was unbelievably hard. But if you want it all you have to be prepared to work for it. We have too small kids, and we both work, and the only time I can write is when the kids are in bed and all the housework is finished. Needless to say writing progress is slow. But we chose this because financial stability is important to both of us.

You have to decide what you want from your life. Don't even think about getting married just for the sake of it.

Kylabelle
04-01-2016, 03:21 PM
I would wager that if one surveyed a representative sample of all published writers, those with family would greatly outnumber the singletons.

So that tells us it can be done. As well, family is possibly the richest source of material for a writer. It's where you get your intimate knowledge of what it's like to be human among other humans. Even if you never write in any direct or recognizable way about your family, they inform you deeply. One could even argue that being without family presents a handicap of its own.

PeteMC
04-01-2016, 03:24 PM
Unless you become very successful I'm afraid you just aren't going to support yourself by writing fiction.

I work a full time corporate job and write in the evenings. Sure, I don't get to watch much TV but it's a small enough sacrifice to make.

lianna williamson
04-01-2016, 03:40 PM
I actually found that I wrote more consistently once I got married-- stability and contentment are good for my creative process. I wrote a full draft of a novel for the first time in my life in the 6 months after my wedding.

I became even more productive when I became a mother, because I had to take full advantage of the windows of time I did have available to write. When I had fewer commitments I was more apt to fritter my writing time away because, hey, I can always do it later. Once I had a baby in the house, I would pounce on nap times and write like a demon.

Today my life is not as hectic as that of many on this board, but I do have a family and a job. Not published yet, but I've got a novel out on sub and am 10% through the next one. Do I write as much as I probably would if I lived by myself in a cottage by the sea, supported by a wealthy patron? Nope. But I do write. And finish things. And it's not beyond the realm of possibility that I will publish those things. It can be done.

Barbara R.
04-01-2016, 04:16 PM
I've had both! A writing career (8 novels, published by Viking, S&S, etc.), a couple of non-fiction collaborations, one husband, two kids, and now two grandkids. And I'm not privately wealthy, alas. It's not easy combining family and work, but it's doable. I actually posted a blog post not too long ago about how to do it. (Duct tape optional.) Have a read (http://barbararogan.com/blog/?p=853).

Honestly, it's not much different for any working person looking to find that family/work balance---not only writers struggle.

WriterBN
04-02-2016, 02:35 AM
To be entirely honest, I would certainly have more time to write without family obligations (especially being a sole provider for mine). I know a few full-time writers who have families but, without exception, they have a spouse who provides financial support (and health insurance—a big consideration for my family).

The question is: how would I actually use that time? Somehow, I suspect I wouldn't be as productive as I'd like to think I would be :)

Albdantesque
04-02-2016, 06:21 AM
To be entirely honest, I would certainly have more time to write without family obligations (especially being a sole provider for mine). I know a few full-time writers who have families but, without exception, they have a spouse who provides financial support (and health insurance—a big consideration for my family).

The question is: how would I actually use that time? Somehow, I suspect I wouldn't be as productive as I'd like to think I would be :)

I agree with what some members said, i.e. there's a lot to learn from your own family. But the responsibility itself and mental burden seem to outweigh whatever there's to learn. I know some great writers who were married, but they were not good spouses (some of them were the worst ones, but insofar as times were different their spouses had to cope somehow :)

StuToYou
04-02-2016, 06:30 AM
I agree with what some members said, i.e. there's a lot to learn from your own family. But the responsibility itself and mental burden seem to outweigh whatever there's to learn. I know some great writers who were married, but they were not good spouses (some of them were the worst ones, but insofar as times were different their spouses had to cope somehow :)

Relationships are relationships, they have their own dynamic.

Writing is writing, it has its own dynamic.

I don't really think there's a special inevitable causation/ connection between the act of writing and the health or otherwise of relationships.

In short, if you write, write.

Jamesaritchie
04-02-2016, 07:14 AM
Unless you become very successful I'm afraid you just aren't going to support yourself by writing fiction.

I work a full time corporate job and write in the evenings. Sure, I don't get to watch much TV but it's a small enough sacrifice to make.

Thousands of writers you've never heard of support themselves very well by writing. The very successful earn millions, often tens of million per year. The journeyman writer may never earn more than a hundred and fifty thousand, but how much do you need to support yourself.

Jamesaritchie
04-02-2016, 07:16 AM
It doesn't matter what your profession is, or what you hobby is, or what your goals are, if you want a relationship to work, it has to come first. If it doesn't come first, then the people are the problem, not the sidelines you have going.

andiwrite
04-02-2016, 10:27 AM
I don't see how people do it. I can't even have a boyfriend without feeling like my creative time/energy is being drained.

Think about it:

If you wake up and work a typical eight-hour day, and you need to sleep another eight hours at night to be healthy, you have eight hours left. When you consider things like errands/cooking/getting food you have maybe six. That means you could have three hours for writing and three hours for your partner. And that's IF you have no other interests, hobbies, classes, etc. I have artistic hobbies outside of writing. I also work out at least an hour a day, which I need to stay healthy and fight depression.

Less than three hours of writing a day isn't enough for me, personally. It's not that I couldn't do it; I would just feel rushed, stressed, and unhappy. Three hours a day also doesn't seem to be enough for any boyfriend I've had. Almost every guy I've dated has either tried to make me feel guilty about writing so much or just demanded more time. It makes me feel suffocated.

I could probably date someone who was VERY independent and lost in their own creative projects a lot of the time, but most guys expect more than I want to give. I've realized I need to just accept being single. So yeah, how you guys manage romantic relationships and parental responsibilities is beyond me. You're warriors! :)

I_love_coffee
04-02-2016, 04:07 PM
so, to the OP, how much are you writing now, with no relationship/kids in the way?

Taylor Harbin
04-02-2016, 04:20 PM
My wife is very supportive of my writing, and since I am the sole income provider, she handles the housework and grocery duties most of the time. That doesn't mean I blow her off every day just to get a word count, but if I declare that I'm going to work in my study, she respects and encourages that. I would prefer to do it full-time, as my current day job can be very demanding and stressful, so I don't always have the energy to write once I'm home. Can't imagine trying to raise kids. Neither of us are ready for that...

InspectorFarquar
04-02-2016, 05:38 PM
I don't see how people do it. I can't even have a boyfriend without feeling like my creative time/energy is being drained.

Think about it:

If you wake up and work a typical eight-hour day, and you need to sleep another eight hours at night to be healthy, you have eight hours left. When you consider things like errands/cooking/getting food you have maybe six. That means you could have three hours for writing and three hours for your partner. And that's IF you have no other interests, hobbies, classes, etc. I have artistic hobbies outside of writing. I also work out at least an hour a day, which I need to stay healthy and fight depression.

Less than three hours of writing a day isn't enough for me, personally. It's not that I couldn't do it; I would just feel rushed, stressed, and unhappy. Three hours a day also doesn't seem to be enough for any boyfriend I've had. Almost every guy I've dated has either tried to make me feel guilty about writing so much or just demanded more time. It makes me feel suffocated.

I could probably date someone who was VERY independent and lost in their own creative projects a lot of the time, but most guys expect more than I want to give. I've realized I need to just accept being single. So yeah, how you guys manage romantic relationships and parental responsibilities is beyond me. You're warriors! :)

Are you kidding? What you describe is either the ideal woman, or, perhaps one who's a touch too "available" and underfoot.

Albdantesque
04-02-2016, 06:58 PM
so, to the OP, how much are you writing now, with no relationship/kids in the way?

In the span of the last 5 years: three books, 5 to 6 published/forthcoming essays, working on my first play, 20 published opinions, translated one of my novels in Greek, edited the English translation of another novel, getting my second MA :) (working full time also, and taking care of my mother)

Just wondering now if wife and kids would fit in all this craziness :)

Albdantesque
04-02-2016, 07:25 PM
By the way, I'd like to emphasize the cultural background also. People from rich countries/classes tend to love independence more than people from poor countries/classes. I suppose that a person from Southern Europe (or a US immigrant) would be more demanding toward her partner than a person from Northern Europe. I might be wrong, but I have this impression too. In some countries hard working and being independent is seen as a norm, whereas in other countries/cultures is seen as an exception... and working or reading too much would make you creepy in some cultures. I do not doubt that both worldviews have their pros and cons. I just wanted to introduce culture into our conversation.

Katharine Tree
04-02-2016, 07:26 PM
I don't see how people do it. I can't even have a boyfriend without feeling like my creative time/energy is being drained.

If I may make some unsolicited observations ... first, writing is obviously the higher priority for you. For me, having a family was. I cannot be functional and happy without being in a stable relationship, in a comfortable home situation, and without being a parent I wouldn't have been sufficiently actualized to get around to writing. If you are single and comfortable enough to write, more power to you.

It's also worth noting that I got the husband and kid sorted out before I was a writer. Once you have them in place and they have their own thing going on, they need less attention than they did at the beginning of the relationship. When you're all around each other constantly, time to yourselves becomes a good thing, you know?

Another thing that might be a personal difference between me and you, but I tend to attribute to generational differences, is that you are planning your theoretical life by hours and using it to justify your course of action. I just do things. Sometimes that blows up in my face, but sometimes not. No conclusions to draw here, just amused that people can be so different.

jjdebenedictis
04-02-2016, 09:23 PM
By the way, I'd like to emphasize the cultural background also. People from rich countries/classes tend to love independence more than people from poor countries/classes. I suppose that a person from Southern Europe (or a US immigrant) would be more demanding toward her partner than a person from Northern Europe. I might be wrong, but I have this impression too. In some countries hard working and being independent is seen as a norm, whereas in other countries/cultures is seen as an exception... and working or reading too much would make you creepy in some cultures. I do not doubt that both worldviews have their pros and cons. I just wanted to introduce culture into our conversation.Imma disagree with all of that. That's a load of stereotypes, not reality.

If you prioritize other things too-highly over a relationship -- writing, doing drugs, mountain-climbing -- then the relationship suffers. But prioritizing a relationship over what you passionately want to do with your life causes you to suffer.

You find your balance. You maintain your boundaries, but you still negotiate with the people in your life about how you'll interact. It's called living.

Silva
04-02-2016, 11:13 PM
For the time being, I am a SAHM. I don't get to be by myself, or write uninterrupted, unless my husband is working late and the children are in bed before he gets back. And sometimes, like right now, he'll run an errand and take the children and I'll stay home. It's not long enough to get much writing done, and it's frustrating to get all creative systems up and going and then have to yank the plug in the middle of it and move onto something else. So sometimes I just don't. My husband acts hurt if I'm not available to do whatever he wants whenever he wants, and thinks I should spend my day doing more of the chores and actively engaged with the children instead of letting them entertain themselves. Sometimes he tells me that he feels like he's carrying more of the work load than I am. He doesn't know the meaning of taking it easy, and doesn't take break unless it's to catch up on sleep, and expects me to be that way too, out of some sense of "fairness" in labor distribution. So when I do set aside some time to write, you bet I feel horribly guilty about it.

Sometimes I feel cynical, like sure, maybe a man can have a family and write, but not a woman, because women must be domestic goddesses and find their every fulfillment in wiping babies' butts, but men can have other interests. Other comments here indicate that I may be unduly cynical on that front. Sorry, dudes.

But the truth is, I do get some writing in anyway, even if it's guilt-ridden writing. I've been keeping tabs on my wordcount, and 5-10K a month seems to be about what I can churn out. Sometimes that feels pitiful, sometimes that seems amazing. March was spectacularly awful because my husband took a vacation from work for two weeks and little writing happened during that time. I got just over 3K for the entire month.

I say you can do whatever you like in life, but try to do it with supportive people surrounding you (or, you know, not surrounding you because they're supportive), not unsupportive people. It's more fun that way.

StuToYou
04-02-2016, 11:28 PM
Imma disagree with all of that. That's a load of stereotypes, not reality.

If you prioritize other things too-highly over a relationship -- writing, doing drugs, mountain-climbing -- then the relationship suffers. But prioritizing a relationship over what you passionately want to do with your life causes you to suffer.

You find your balance. You maintain your boundaries, but you still negotiate with the people in your life about how you'll interact. It's called living.
+1

StuToYou
04-02-2016, 11:32 PM
For the time being, I am a SAHM. I don't get to be by myself, or write uninterrupted, unless my husband is working late and the children are in bed before he gets back. And sometimes, like right now, he'll run an errand and take the children and I'll stay home. It's not long enough to get much writing done, and it's frustrating to get all creative systems up and going and then have to yank the plug in the middle of it and move onto something else. So sometimes I just don't. My husband acts hurt if I'm not available to do whatever he wants whenever he wants, and thinks I should spend my day doing more of the chores and actively engaged with the children instead of letting them entertain themselves. Sometimes he tells me that he feels like he's carrying more of the work load than I am. He doesn't know the meaning of taking it easy, and doesn't take break unless it's to catch up on sleep, and expects me to be that way too, out of some sense of "fairness" in labor distribution. So when I do set aside some time to write, you bet I feel horribly guilty about it.

Sometimes I feel cynical, like sure, maybe a man can have a family and write, but not a woman, because women must be domestic goddesses and find their every fulfillment in wiping babies' butts, but men can have other interests. Other comments here indicate that I may be unduly cynical on that front. Sorry, dudes.

But the truth is, I do get some writing in anyway, even if it's guilt-ridden writing. I've been keeping tabs on my wordcount, and 5-10K a month seems to be about what I can churn out. Sometimes that feels pitiful, sometimes that seems amazing. March was spectacularly awful because my husband took a vacation from work for two weeks and little writing happened during that time. I got just over 3K for the entire month.

I say you can do whatever you like in life, but try to do it with supportive people surrounding you (or, you know, not surrounding you because they're supportive), not unsupportive people. It's more fun that way.
With all due love and sympathy, I'm going to reiterate, relationships are relationships, writing is writing.

ps, this line saddens me. "I do get some writing in anyway, even if it's guilt-ridden writing."

Katharine Tree
04-03-2016, 12:02 AM
Big hugs, Silva. I'm so sorry you feel bad about your writing. Recently I was watching CNN's documentary "The Sixties", and it was the episode about feminism. A woman on camera said something like "it is deathly boring to spend day in and day out with little children, especially if society expects you to enjoy it." We love our kids, but we need other things, too.

andiwrite
04-03-2016, 12:40 AM
Are you kidding? What you describe is either the ideal woman, or, perhaps one who's a touch too "available" and underfoot.

What do you mean? I can't tell if you're being serious or making fun of me. :tongue


If I may make some unsolicited observations ... first, writing is obviously the higher priority for you. For me, having a family was. I cannot be functional and happy without being in a stable relationship, in a comfortable home situation, and without being a parent I wouldn't have been sufficiently actualized to get around to writing. If you are single and comfortable enough to write, more power to you.

It's also worth noting that I got the husband and kid sorted out before I was a writer. Once you have them in place and they have their own thing going on, they need less attention than they did at the beginning of the relationship. When you're all around each other constantly, time to yourselves becomes a good thing, you know?

Oh God... if only that were true. The men who were demanding more from me were men I had lived with for years already. I mostly had long-term relationships throughout my twenties. Definitely not early stages of dating. My last boyfriend and I only dated for a short time, and he started showing a lot of red flags for demanding/controlling behavior so I put a stop to it. What kills me is I cooked dinner for these guys every night (the ones I lived with) and made an effort to spend time with them in the evening. All I wanted was time alone in the late-night hours to work on my writing. They made me feel guilty for that because couples are "supposed to sleep together." I never let them control me but there was always resentment over me staying up all night working. I've always been a night person. People attempting to dictate when I sleep doesn't work for me.

Relationships have been causing me stress and misery for years and it's only recently that I've realized I can just opt out of the whole thing, at least for a while. I feel the opposite way as you. I seem to only be functional, happy, and fully actualized as a person when I'm single. I'm still a romantic at heart though, and I hope things could change if I met the right person. But eh ... I don't really it happening so I'd rather not dream of it too much.


Sometimes I feel cynical, like sure, maybe a man can have a family and write, but not a woman, because women must be domestic goddesses and find their every fulfillment in wiping babies' butts, but men can have other interests.

My last ex seemed to have the attitude that this is how women should be. I told him I didn't want kids from the beginning, and he didn't take it seriously. He still made comments assuming I would soon be knocked up and raising his babies. WTF!? Unfortunately a lot of guys seem to have the attitude that women are baby makers.

I'm glad you still find time to write! It wouldn't be a matter of guilt for me, I just would not have the energy if I had a kid. So I think you are highly badass, and you shouldn't feel guilty for anything. :)


With all due love and sympathy, I'm going to reiterate, relationships are relationships, writing is writing.

How do you mean?

neandermagnon
04-03-2016, 12:47 AM
I'm a lone mother to two primary school age daughters and I work full time to put food on the table. I write when I can. I get up at 6am each morning to write and try to write after 8pm when the kids are in bed (which sometimes becomes 9pm by the time we're done with finding pajamas, reading bedtime stories and dealing with any end of day dramas) but quite often I'm too tired to write by then. I try to find time at the weekends. Usually I can get a few hours in here and there over the course of the week.

It's a bit frustrating that I don't have more time to write. I feel like I could've finished my current WIP by now if I had more time, but on the other hand, my job isn't boring and it's great being a mum (livened up the housework this morning with mambo Italiano dancing in my very tiny kitchen, before a fun family outing to Asda for the weekly shopping then spent the afternoon kicking a pink football around the park). Money could be a lot better but there's more to life than money - plus there is the possibility of one day making money from writing, if I ever get time to actually finish the damn thing. So I'm not complaining. ***mambo Italianos out of the thread*** (imagine a neanderthal woman dancing very badly to mambo italiano)

Chasing the Horizon
04-03-2016, 01:20 AM
Of course you can work full-time, have a family, and write. But you will be making sacrifices on various fronts, because there really ARE only 24 hours in a day. Some people find that their creativity thrives with a busy schedule and actually struggle to be productive when they have too much free time. But others need a lot of quiet, uninterrupted time to do their best work. I would strongly suggest being sure which way your creativity works before trapping yourself in a situation which may make you very unhappy in the long run.

I strongly disagree with the idea that marrying or having children will somehow give you more insight into writing. That's only one of many, many ways to have life experiences that will add depth to your writing. Choosing not to take that path leaves one with time to explore all kinds of other things (travel, pets, volunteering, job flexibility, deeper friendships, additional hobbies, etc), which are at least as enriching to your writing as the alternative.

A lot of what the OP said made me think of the saying: "Life is what happens while you're making plans". Focusing on what you can be doing RIGHT NOW that will enrich your life is really the only way to avoid the trap of life happening around you while you plan for the future. Join a group related to a hobby other than writing. Volunteer somewhere your help is needed. Take a cheap class in some new craft or skill. Adopt a pet. Never let yourself stagnate in a job or course of study which you hate. Apply for different jobs until you get one you don't hate (and don't limit yourself too much--you might be surprised by what you end up enjoying). Through it all, continue to focus on your writing for at least a little while every day.

Maybe, while you're living life, you'll meet a partner you're very compatible with and decide to go forward with a relationship and even marriage. Maybe you'll accomplish a bunch of other things instead. But either way you won't have wasted large amounts of your life worrying about the future.

Albdantesque
04-03-2016, 01:36 AM
I'm happy my post caused so much interest, it seems that writers have been at similar pains. I'd like to answer to some:

to JJDebenedictis: I am an immigrant myself, I've lived in countries where many people think that Albanians are the worst criminals. I do not doubt that people (including me) tend to exaggerate things, but I am not going to leave truths escape me due to cosmopolitanism and beliefs of the kind we should not have stereotypes. It fits me, as an immigrant, to live in a place where people have no stereotypes on my kind/nationality/culture, etc. But the world is so big, individuals so small, and at final analysis climate, history, economics and so many other factors shape people's attitude and beliefs around the world. Hence, I might be wrong in my interpretation of one's actions and beliefs, but I am not wrong in saying that the universe we live in makes us differ in many directions.

To Andiwrite: in the post #12, gettingby offered an example on how dating a person with same interests/profession is not always the solution.

To the rest: I forgot to mention that apart the differences among the humans we may share our lives with, there's a big difference in the writing projects we undertake. I might be wrong, but it seems to me that some kinds of fiction/writing need more attention, focusing and depth than other projects. To give an example (among the many there are), it might be more easy to write a novel on a love affair, than write a novel where you build 5 to 6 conflicting characters (where everyone is different in everything he does from the rest, even in her speech) and you want your story to have two readings (what you say, and the parable or what you imply).

PorterStarrByrd
04-03-2016, 01:48 AM
You can have my ex-Mother-in-law if you want

andiwrite
04-03-2016, 03:27 AM
To Andiwrite: in the post #12, gettingby offered an example on how dating a person with same interests/profession is not always the solution.

Of course it isn't. They'd have to get me on writing and also NOT be insane/abusive, not be addicted to drugs/into partying or drinking, mesh with my spiritual beliefs, and then on top of that I'd have to be attracted to them (I don't care about looks but I have very specific humor/personality tastes). It's basically impossible, and I've pretty much accepted that. :) Pairing up and making a family isn't for everyone.

Silva
04-03-2016, 03:57 AM
With all due love and sympathy, I'm going to reiterate, relationships are relationships, writing is writing.

ps, this line saddens me. "I do get some writing in anyway, even if it's guilt-ridden writing."

I'm not sure I understand what you mean-- I scrolled up to reread your earlier post and am just not sure how to apply it. I can't compartmentalize my life like that when it's all happening all at once and all in the same place. I don't get to physically or mentally remove myself from my family so anything I do for me (writing) is going to have to happen in the middle of them.


Big hugs, Silva. I'm so sorry you feel bad about your writing. Recently I was watching CNN's documentary "The Sixties", and it was the episode about feminism. A woman on camera said something like "it is deathly boring to spend day in and day out with little children, especially if society expects you to enjoy it." We love our kids, but we need other things, too.

Yes, and thanks. When I got married I figured I'd be a sahm forever and enjoy it because I like children. I still like children, but not on a 24/7 basis. My husband has been talking about how he'd be great as a sahd (probably would, to be honest) and I am so going to take him up on that in the next couple of years.



I'm glad you still find time to write! It wouldn't be a matter of guilt for me, I just would not have the energy if I had a kid. So I think you are highly badass, and you shouldn't feel guilty for anything. :)

Thank you. They are getting to be kinder-aged, and I feel like I finally started to get my energy back in the last year.

neandermagnon
04-03-2016, 12:22 PM
To the rest: I forgot to mention that apart the differences among the humans we may share our lives with, there's a big difference in the writing projects we undertake. I might be wrong, but it seems to me that some kinds of fiction/writing need more attention, focusing and depth than other projects. To give an example (among the many there are), it might be more easy to write a novel on a love affair, than write a novel where you build 5 to 6 conflicting characters (where everyone is different in everything he does from the rest, even in her speech) and you want your story to have two readings (what you say, and the parable or what you imply).

There are differences in the kinds of projects and also in our way of working. I'm the kind of writer that writes best with large, unbroken stretches of time and the stories I write are complex. I used to have three or four projects on the go at any one time. I don't have that luxury so I've adapted to make the best of the situation I'm in. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you can find ways to adapt and make it work, even if it ends up taking ten times as long to do it (as it is the case for me). I didn't plan to be a single parent. When I made the decision to start a family I was happily married to a man who was happy for me to work or be a stay at home mum - my choice either way - and he was happy with me having time alone in the evenings for writing. It didn't work out (for reasons that have nothing to do with writing) and now I'm the breadwinner and sole carer of my kids. Life happens. I don't regret how things have turned out because I love my kids. But I've had to adapt how I write because the alternative is not writing at all.

If you don't want a partner or a family, don't have them, and you don't need to justify that choice to anyone. It's 100% your choice and never let anyone tell you otherwise. I've only said the above because I wouldn't want anyone to feel they have to give up on writing because their life circumstances don't work out the way they wanted them to.

Additionally, I want to stress that while I've organised my whole life around financially supporting and caring for my kids, no-one should have to rearrange their entire life or give up on things that are important to them for a partner. Kids are 100% dependent on their parents. Partners are adults, capable of looking after themselves and capable of understanding simple logic like if they get into a relationship with a writer then their partner's going to spend time writing.

andiwrite
04-04-2016, 02:57 AM
If you don't want a partner or a family, don't have them, and you don't need to justify that choice to anyone. It's 100% your choice and never let anyone tell you otherwise. I've only said the above because I wouldn't want anyone to feel they have to give up on writing because their life circumstances don't work out the way they wanted them to.

Thank you! People online have called me cold, told me I'm going to "die alone," told me no man is ever going to want me, and so on, all because of my not wanting children. It's a really weird issue that people seem to have some strange emotions over. A lot of parents can't comprehend someone not wanting to be just like them. Or they take my choice as an insult to their lifestyle, and it isn't that at all. I have a lot of respect for parents, and I really love kids. I just can't handle dealing with humans who need me 24/7. Writing time aside, I'm too damn introverted. I need a ton of time alone or I really start to come apart at the seams.

I could see maybe foster/adopting in the distant future (like, mid 40s) if things happened to change, but I won't be making any humans with this body. The world is populated enough. :)

AW Admin
04-04-2016, 03:02 AM
Thank you! People online have called me cold, told me I'm going to "die alone," told me no man is ever going to want me, and so on, all because of my not wanting children.

I don't see that that is anyone else's business but yours and possibly a future partner.

You figure out what makes you feel happy and comfortable and go do that.

Albdantesque
04-04-2016, 03:21 AM
I could see maybe foster/adopting in the distant future (like, mid 40s) if things happened to change, but I won't be making any humans with this body. The world is populated enough. :)

Being a writer makes someone an educator, moralist, and so on. There are writers who do not see their work from this perspective, but I do not know why those who do not see the parable/morale of writing become writers (this is a personal question I have, and by no means an axiom). I assume that love for humanity and/or expectations toward humanity make us writers (cause even if one writes about plants and animals only, she expects to be read and she believes that her story should be valuated by humans). Anyway, adopting and fostering kids sounds good, whereas commitment toward humans (though it does not need to be showed only by bringing up kids) makes us better as writers.

Fruitbat
04-04-2016, 03:23 AM
Thank you! People online have called me cold, told me I'm going to "die alone," told me no man is ever going to want me, and so on, all because of my not wanting children. It's a really weird issue that people seem to have some strange emotions over. A lot of parents can't comprehend someone not wanting to be just like them. Or they take my choice as an insult to their lifestyle, and it isn't that at all. I have a lot of respect for parents, and I really love kids. I just can't handle dealing with humans who need me 24/7. Writing time aside, I'm too damn introverted. I need a ton of time alone or I really start to come apart at the seams.

I could see maybe foster/adopting in the distant future (like, mid 40s) if things happened to change, but I won't be making any humans with this body. The world is populated enough. :)

And if you do get married and have kids, they just keep on weighing in on everything you do with said spouse and kids and usually not in a complimentary way! I finally learned the hard way to not tell people anything until each "controversial" deed was already done. :p

andiwrite
04-04-2016, 03:27 AM
And if you do get married and have kids, they just keep on weighing in on everything you do with said spouse and kids and usually not in a complimentary way! I finally learned the hard way to not tell people anything until each "controversial" deed was already done. :p

Yep! I've heard that from many of my parent friends. People are so weird.

AW Admin
04-04-2016, 03:31 AM
And if you do get married and have kids, they just keep on weighing in on everything you do with said spouse and kids and usually not in a complimentary way! I finally learned the hard way to not tell people anything until each "controversial" deed was already done. :p

I am astonished by what pregnant women have to put up with from total strangers.

Beachgirl
04-04-2016, 05:42 AM
I'm a wife and mother, with a demanding full-time career that often requires long hours at work (like tomorrow - I'm looking at 14 hours at the office!). I'm also a writer with 9 published books.

Before I started writing seriously, I went back to school full-time. I had a husband working full-time and a 10-month old baby at home. I also worked 40 hours a week, yet still graduated from college with honors.

If I had stopped to question how much time it would take to go back to college or become a published author, I probably would have talked myself out of doing either one. Thank goodness I didn't, because I would have missed out on so much.

We all make time for the things that are really important to us. I sometimes go for days and weeks without writing, but I find time and get it done. Some days it's more important to spend extra time with the family, some days it's the job, and some days (like today) I get some private time to spend writing. It's all about prioritizing. If you try to look at the hands of a clock and figure out how everything you want to accomplish in life will fit into normal 24-hour days, you'll convince yourself it can't all be done.

My advice is to quit wondering if you can cram everything you'd like to do in life into the amount of time you have, and instead just go out and live it.

Bubastes
04-04-2016, 05:43 AM
People will always tell you how you're doing your life "wrong," so you might as well do what you want.

Silva
04-04-2016, 06:05 AM
I am astonished by what pregnant women have to put up with from total strangers.

No kidding, though at some point I ceased being astonished and went straight to writing ranty slam poetry (which saw the light of day, thank god). :tongue

andiwrite
04-04-2016, 06:17 AM
I'm a wife and mother, with a demanding full-time career that often requires long hours at work (like tomorrow - I'm looking at 14 hours at the office!). I'm also a writer with 9 published books.

Before I started writing seriously, I went back to school full-time. I had a husband working full-time and a 10-month old baby at home. I also worked 40 hours a week, yet still graduated from college with honors.

That's awesome! :) I really envy people like you. Some of us really can't do that though. It's okay to know your limitations. I have a bunch of different health issues that cause me pain and fatigue. This is part of why relationships wear me down so much--I just can't handle the stress of them. I've tried to jump right in and take on a bunch of things and see if I could do it before, and it always resulted in some sort of physical/emotional breakdown after a short time. I've learned what I can handle and how to build a life that works for me.

AW Admin
04-04-2016, 06:18 AM
No kidding, though at some point I ceased being astonished and went straight to writing ranty slam poetry (which saw the light of day, thank god). :tongue

I keep meaning to ask my mom (she's in her 90s) if this is a new thing or an old thing.

I can't imagine her putting up with much of the crap I see pregnant women having to deal with.

There would have been frozen corpses littering the sidewalk . . .

Roxxsmom
04-04-2016, 06:54 AM
There was a time (in some places, at least) when it was impolite to "notice" that someone was pregnant at all, or to talk about such "indelicate" things in public. Maybe this was an improvement on the current norms, where everyone seems to think pregnant women are community property who are delighted to be touched by total strangers and are always willing to discuss their condition in intimate detail.

Though the idea that women are supposed to enter seclusion while pregnant didn't die out that long ago. I have a friend (maybe ten years or so older than I am) whose father was shocked that she kept working after getting pregnant. His disapproval had nothing to do with concern for her health or beliefs that mothers should be homemakers only; he was worried that her "great with child" condition would make things awkward and uncomfortable for her male co-workers. Evidently men of his generation found pregnancy profoundly embarrassing and distasteful to witness.

Beachgirl
04-04-2016, 06:58 AM
That's awesome! :) I really envy people like you. Some of us really can't do that though. It's okay to know your limitations. I have a bunch of different health issues that cause me pain and fatigue. This is part of why relationships wear me down so much--I just can't handle the stress of them. I've tried to jump right in and take on a bunch of things and see if I could do it before, and it always resulted in some sort of physical/emotional breakdown after a short time. I've learned what I can handle and how to build a life that works for me.

Learning our limits is crucial and, like you indicate above, we usually learn them through pushing ourselves to discover how much is too much. Once we know what we can each handle, we are better able to manage and prioritize. I've found myself taking on too much before and had to back off. I've learned not to volunteer for new things just because someone pressures me or I feel guilty. I sometimes even have to go so far as to actually schedule "down time," just to make sure I squeeze in some time to myself to do absolutely nothing. Every now and then my schedule might say "Doctor Appointment" when what I'm really doing is running off to the beach for an hour or two. I just consider it my mental health time.

KTC
04-04-2016, 04:06 PM
If you have the right people in your life, you can have everything.

I always had time to write while raising a family. It was NEVER an issue...because I was supported. And I had two kids heavily into hockey, tae kwon do, gymnastics, and several other extra curricular activities. I have/had a full-time day job. When it got hectic with my writing schedule, I started a new habit...waking up at 4am and writing for an hour every day.

Barring physical limitations, there really is no excuse. We can find the time to manage WRITING, CAREER and FAMILY.

I think anyone who says it can't be done, lives by excuses. Just think of the hours some waste in front of a TV. Life is filled with excess hours available. We just need to manage time more appropriately...and we can do anything.

MarkEsq
04-04-2016, 05:21 PM
At signings or book festivals I often hear people saying they'd love to write but don't have the time. I point out that I have a full-time job as a prosecutor, three kids under the age of 12, and a wife who works full-time, and I've had six novels and a non-fiction book published in the last four years.

I also have zero time where I'm wondering what to do with myself. :)

The key for me has been my wife who does almost everything at home, the cooking and cleaning, the chaining up of the kids at night, all the hard domestic work. Without her support and understanding my writing would be guilt-ridden and less productive. So I agree with those who say that a good understanding with one's partner is essential.

andiwrite
04-05-2016, 01:53 AM
I think the way people write has a lot to do with it. Someone already mentioned this, but some writers operate differently. Some can sit down and bust out a few pages during a 15-minute lunch break. I personally need hours to get into the story. I usually do my best writing when I'm 2-3 hours into working that day. I also need to work on a book regularly (I usually aim for 6 hours a day when I'm actively working on a draft) or I tend to lose my place and inspiration.


Barring physical limitations, there really is no excuse.

^^Thank you for mentioning that, because physical limitations are a real thing. I could not get up at 4am and write. If I miss sleep, all my symptoms start acting up within a day or two. I've learned pushing myself isn't worth it.

As far as kids also, whether you're an extrovert or an introvert makes a huge difference. Kids are exhausting either way, but extroverts tend to get an energetic boost from being around people, family included. So it's more than just an "hours in the day" thing. It's how being around your kids effects you and your creative energy levels. When I spend the day with people, I don't get much work done on my book that night. I find social interaction so draining that I'm sure having kids would result in the end of my career, even if we didn't have that busy of a life. And some people might be opposite of me. Having kids might fill them with youthful life and energy and all sorts of creative ideas.

jjdebenedictis
04-05-2016, 04:01 AM
I keep meaning to ask my mom (she's in her 90s) if this is a new thing or an old thing.

I can't imagine her putting up with much of the crap I see pregnant women having to deal with. It would depend on the area, but older members of my family have mentioned women going into "confinement" as soon as they started to show. It was apparently a matter of acute embarrassment to be seen in public with your body shaped like that.

Which seems far, far worse to me. The fact that people will (still) sacrifice the quality of their life over what hypothetical strangers might hypothetically think of them has always bothered me, even though I understand that sort of anxiety. Still: You only get one life! Live it! F' those hypothetical judgey-people!

aus10phile
04-05-2016, 08:13 PM
I'm a freelancer writer with two kids, preschool & grade-school age, and I'm married. I did work full time before I went freelance. Now I'm about 15-20 hours a week-ish, and I'm the full-time care provider for my kids when they're not in school. My experience is that it's possible, but challenging. (I'm not published yet, but I've been successful at making time to write.)

First thing I cut was the obvious stuff. (Like, I only watch one TV show a week, and only when I'm folding laundry.) Then, every day I make choices. My house isn't always clean because I choose to write instead of pick up sometimes. If the kids are playing well together, I grab my laptop and sneak in as much time as I can until someone starts fighting. It takes conscious effort every day to make the time, because everything else could easily fill all the time if I let it.

Yes, I would certainly have more time to write if I didn't have a family. But at the same time, I don't want to spend so much time writing about life that I stop living it. So I wouldn't trade any of that. I would (and will) trade some of my freelance work, if I can start getting paid for fiction. :)

BunnyHopkins
05-20-2016, 07:42 AM
ya, it can be done. I raised three children of my own + extras, ran a daycare for medically fragile children which meant working 12 hr days, and I still wrote...at least an hour a night, and during the day when the kids were laying down for quiet time. Over the years I worked many jobs inside and outside of the home to help support the family. And wrote. Always wrote. I have found that I am more productive when I have a limited time to write.

That said, many writers are the second wage earners in a family. Their spouse often makes more money and holds down the job with benefits for the family. That was the case with me. I always had to work. I never had to carry the whole financial burden. I *did* do the majority of the childcare and housework though. :)

Myrealana
05-20-2016, 05:59 PM
To the rest: I forgot to mention that apart the differences among the humans we may share our lives with, there's a big difference in the writing projects we undertake. I might be wrong, but it seems to me that some kinds of fiction/writing need more attention, focusing and depth than other projects. To give an example (among the many there are), it might be more easy to write a novel on a love affair, than write a novel where you build 5 to 6 conflicting characters (where everyone is different in everything he does from the rest, even in her speech) and you want your story to have two readings (what you say, and the parable or what you imply).

Am I the only one seeing this? That your writing is more special than the simple books that everyone else on this thread writes? Your situation, makes you a speshul snowflake-writer to whom none of these other situations apply?

jjdebenedictis
05-20-2016, 11:50 PM
Am I the only one seeing this? That your writing is more special than the simple books that everyone else on this thread writes? Your situation, makes you a speshul snowflake-writer to whom none of these other situations apply?My read on the bit you quoted is the OP is saying that some books might be harder to write than others, not that they are personally writing those books. I didn't take it as a reference to their own work.

chompers
05-21-2016, 12:03 AM
Of course it's possible. Many people do it. Just look at the guy who dedicated his book to his family: "To [Names], of which without them this book would have been finished years earlier." (Or something to that effect.)

William Haskins
05-21-2016, 12:11 AM
married 28 years, work at least 50 hours a week, write every day and still find time to be an absolute monster.

Albdantesque
05-21-2016, 06:02 AM
Am I the only one seeing this? That your writing is more special than the simple books that everyone else on this thread writes? Your situation, makes you a speshul snowflake-writer to whom none of these other situations apply?

jjdebenedicts replied to you already. That conclusion came from comparing the works of the same author, not from comparing different authors. I am writing a play now, no more than 60 pages, and it is taking me 5 months, because the protagonist is an historical figure and I can't say whatever comes to my mind, but I have to search historical sources all the time and revise things due to the feeling of responsibility toward the personage (even language has to be different, more archaic I guess). If the protagonist was my neighbor or my alter ego, I guess that a 60 pages play would demand less time.

Truth be told, some masterpieces need time... 8 years it took to Flaubert to write Madame Bovary (and to the best of my knowledge he had neither a family, nor a job during that time).

Kylabelle
05-21-2016, 03:10 PM
still find time to be an absolute monster.

And you're GOOD at it, too.

:greenie

Fruitbat
05-21-2016, 05:41 PM
There's nothing wrong with devoting your time and energy heavily to writing if that's what you want to do. We only have so much time and energy to go around, so it's good to seriously consider where you want that time and energy to go before bringing anyone else into it. I've known a couple of horrible partners/parents/freeloaders who felt that just because they had a "dream," they were entitled to a free ride and to dump their adult responsibilities on others. Other people get so overloaded with the other responsibilities they take on that they have to unhappily delay doing what they really wanted to do for many years. Many of us can combine family and writing in a fair way but others can't. I think it's a good question.

brainstorm77
05-21-2016, 09:15 PM
I work fulltime and so does my husband. He also writes. We met right here at AW. We make it work. We take time out to write and for each other. It can be difficult with work, but we manage.

realityfix
05-24-2016, 07:46 AM
To me, it is a question of balance. As an undiscovered author, I write for my own pleasure and sanity. It is more than just a hobby. It is a form of psychological exercise. The control and creativity that I feel as I develop plots and characters balances out the lack of control and creativity that I deal with everyday at my mundane job and during my chores at home.

My first wife was somewhat supportive of my writing and she viewed it as a hobby. My current wife says she is supportive of my desire to write but she will not read my latest efforts. She does not like Dystopian stories or sword and sorcery stories. Anyway, I don't want this to become a gripe session. I am working on finding the balance with my present wife. She has time to go to yoga and ride her bike on the rail trail and I have time to write. I always thought it would have been great to have a spouse the also wrote but a previous post said that a form of jealousy could actually result. It seems that my relationship with my wife. like my writings, are works in progress.

Ellis Clover
05-24-2016, 12:16 PM
I don't see how people do it. I can't even have a boyfriend without feeling like my creative time/energy is being drained.

Think about it:

If you wake up and work a typical eight-hour day, and you need to sleep another eight hours at night to be healthy, you have eight hours left. When you consider things like errands/cooking/getting food you have maybe six. That means you could have three hours for writing and three hours for your partner. And that's IF you have no other interests, hobbies, classes, etc. I have artistic hobbies outside of writing. I also work out at least an hour a day, which I need to stay healthy and fight depression.

Less than three hours of writing a day isn't enough for me, personally. It's not that I couldn't do it; I would just feel rushed, stressed, and unhappy. Three hours a day also doesn't seem to be enough for any boyfriend I've had. Almost every guy I've dated has either tried to make me feel guilty about writing so much or just demanded more time. It makes me feel suffocated.

I could probably date someone who was VERY independent and lost in their own creative projects a lot of the time, but most guys expect more than I want to give. I've realized I need to just accept being single. So yeah, how you guys manage romantic relationships and parental responsibilities is beyond me. You're warriors! :)

Are you me?

(The only thing I have to add to your list of time sucks is commuting time. For me, that's 4-5 hours a day, in a car. Finding time for reading, meals, chores, working out, getting clean and writing is hard enough, but a relationship? With a person, with needs and moods and stuff [and probably a desire, at some point, to reproduce]? Not gonna happen.)

Disa
05-24-2016, 12:39 PM
To me, it is a question of balance. As an undiscovered author, I write for my own pleasure and sanity. It is more than just a hobby. It is a form of psychological exercise. The control and creativity that I feel as I develop plots and characters balances out the lack of control and creativity that I deal with everyday at my mundane job and during my chores at home.

My first wife was somewhat supportive of my writing and she viewed it as a hobby. My current wife says she is supportive of my desire to write but she will not read my latest efforts. She does not like Dystopian stories or sword and sorcery stories. Anyway, I don't want this to become a gripe session. I am working on finding the balance with my present wife. She has time to go to yoga and ride her bike on the rail trail and I have time to write. I always thought it would have been great to have a spouse the also wrote but a previous post said that a form of jealousy could actually result. It seems that my relationship with my wife. like my writings, are works in progress.

It really IS a question of balance. My husband has his hobbies and I am not the least bit interested in those (video games, painting remote control cars, taking care of fish in a tank, etc.) He doesn't like to read fiction so it's very rare that I ever ask him to read anything I've written...and he isn't interested in most of my other hobbies. We are, however, very supportive of each others need for personal space and creative outlets. We've been together almost 27 years, relationships are always a work in progress. It's great to have someone who supports your efforts, even if they aren't interested in them.

So yes, it is possible (as many others have said) to write AND have a family and also work outside the home full time. Some things just take priority over others at certain stages of life. Balance and compromise are key. Sometimes the house is messy, sometimes I don't cook, sleeping 8 hours? What IS that? I'm lucky if I sleep 5 hours in a row.