Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing Life Lessons—The Importance of Including Family in Your Writing Life

By Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

Writing is hard work.
Writing is hard. Harder for some than others, but still hard.

After college, I didn’t write anything other than marketing and sales pieces. It was more than 30 years later when I was led to write a script. It was based on fact, but I created a drama to express that fact. I was excited to write this because my real love is fiction—especially fiction that helps my readers learn how to positively deal with life.

One of the first lessons I learned is that writers need to be surrounded by encouraging people who also hold them accountable. The best situation exists when those people include your family.

Sometimes it takes time for everyone to realize
writing isn't just a hobby.
Being an empty nester, my encouraging family was—and is—my wife. But it didn’t start that way. It took time for her to understand that my writing was a calling and not just a hobby. 

In fairness, it took me some time to realize that as well. 

So we went through a rough adjustment period as we both learned that writing—particularly creative writing—can’t always be scheduled. This meant that other things which needed to be done often were put on hold. It was difficult for her to understand why I would sit, staring into space when there was a rather large hole in our bathroom wall.

Her lack of comprehension greatly disrupted my focus. 

If your writing is a source of tension in your family, I encourage you to try the following things:
  • Discuss your calling with your family. 
  • Show them how important it is to you, and how it doesn’t diminish your love for them. 
  • Emphasize how their encouragement and co-operation will actually make you more efficient, freeing up more time for you to spend with them. 
  • Include your family by asking them to not only give you the space to work but also to hold you accountable for your writing goals.
Family can be our biggest supporters.
Once my wife realized that I can’t help but write, and that writing frequently looks like doing nothing, she became my biggest cheerleader. She gave me the freedom to create. Now she lovingly holds me responsible for meeting my expressed objectives.

She also was instrumental in helping me see that part of my trouble was my unconscious rebellion against time management. This resulted in our working out a writing schedule that allotted time to complete the home improvement and maintenance tasks that I previously ignored. The “honey-do” jobs will now take longer to complete, but they will get done. And my schedule is flexible enough to accommodate adjustments for project urgency or spontaneity.


So what do you do to include your family in your writing? Killing them off in a story doesn’t count. Keep the conversation going by sharing your thoughts in the comments.

TWEETABLES


Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, www.ChristianDevotions.us, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”

13 comments:

  1. excellent article, Bruce. Thank you. My prayer this year is for that balance so that I can experience success in my writing time and leave it while I do other things I need to do. My husband is very supportive but acts surprised when I tell him I struggle with certain things.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I pray you find that balance. Sometimes you just need to take a day off and not think about writing. Those are the times when God refreshes me, and also inspires me.

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  2. The best way for me to include Hubs in mine was to have him paint Chapel Springs. Fortunately for us, my publisher loved the painting and used it. Ken Raney turned it into the cover. That's made it a family affair. :o)

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    1. It's most special when we can include family in our writing success, Ane. My wife is one of my best editors. She loves to read, and won't let me get away with slack writing. I love that about her.

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  3. I must say my husband is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Not only does he understand (and not complain about) my long hours at the computer, he will actually tell me to "get to work" if he sees me goofing off too much. :) Thanks for another great post, Bruce.

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    1. You welcome, Andrea. You can't beat a spouse who won't let you goof off when you should be writing.

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  4. Great post,Bruce. I am blessed with a husband that supports my writing.

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    1. Thanks Dee Dee. Nothing is more valuable than s supportive spouse. Seems God blessed you as He did me.

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  5. Oh how I needed this post, Bruce! Writing is hard for me and I need quiet time with no interruptions. My family doesn't yet understand this or how disruptions take me out of "the zone." My husband thinks he provides me with plenty of time but now I see I have to make him understand how difficult it is for me to get back into a working mode when he's in an out asking questions. At any rate, your post challenged and encouraged me so thank you:)

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    1. Thanks Erika, happy to be of help. I pray your husband will understand your need for quiet time, and that your serious about your writing. Keep writing.

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  6. Bruce, this was such a good word! My hubby is my fixer-upper with any computer or printer problem and also buyer for office supplies and he's proud when I manage to get something published.
    Elva Cobb Martin, President ACFW-SC Chapter

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    1. Thanks Elva, there' s nothing better than a supportive spouse. God bless you both.

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