Writers, Our Families, and Support Systems

Kristen Lamb wrote a blog post yesterday about how being a career writer is serious work, and it takes a lot of training, organization, and multitasking.  To read the full pep talk, click here: “Training to Be a Career Author.”

Her post got me thinking, not about writers, but about those in our lives who depend on us, whether it’s friends, family, or those we provide for.  I’m blessed to have a very supportive mom.  She truly believes I can get published and supports me in my pursuit of my dream.

That said, she also depends on me.  I will need to take over the bulk of the responsibility for supporting us–something I am completely willing to do!  But as I’ve come to realize in the past few weeks, being a career writer involves so much more than writing.  Kristen’s post goes into more detail about what is required of us: research, marketing, social media, learning the business side, not to mention continuing to write those novel-length works!  And that’s just a few things that will make up the schedule of a career writer.  For those of us still working towards that, we probably also have day jobs to balance, in addition to family and friends.

I hope that every one of you writers has friends and family that support you in your pursuit.  But people can be supportive and still reach their limits.  I imagine it might be hard for some of them to understand why we have to do all this work.  Maybe they support our writing, but wonder why we “have to” blog or Tweet.  Maybe they have the same idea about publishing we did before we learned the truth, that writing a book is all you need.

I don’t have any wisdom to offer in this regard, as it hasn’t been a major source of conflict in my relationships yet.  Ideally, we should be able to say that if we multitask properly, no one will feel neglected.  Well, feelings and reality hardly ever align.  I’m still working out my own balance in this new world, and feeling a little guilty about it, even though I know it will help my career in the long run.

So let me ask you, does your family, spouse, partner ever feel neglected or frustrated by the time you spend on these “other” writer activities?  How do you deal with it?  Do you try for an equalized schedule to multitask, or do you allow that schedule to be fluid according to who needs you more at any given time?  Do your loved ones want to support you, but sometimes just don’t understand all you’re trying to accomplish?