Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Husband Says What?

"What are you doing tomorrow?" misterwrites asked. Given our list of house projects and the tone of his voice, I knew what he was thinking: I should tackle the guest room.

She could finish gutting the closet, tape off all the trim and windows, primer the walls, let it dry, and get the first coat of paint on, easy.

But I already had plans; a routine that a full day's labor by myself just wouldn't fit into.

"The usual," I said. "An errand or two, housework, laundry. There's the three-year-old who will likely need my attention."

He nodded with understanding. Those things come first.

"And writing." I shrugged, my shoulders conveying that I'd not get to the room.

Visions of all he'd hoped for vanished. "Writing isn't real work," he muttered.

I gasped. No he didn't. But yes, he did.


He supports me. He knows how important my writing is, and wouldn't question my long-term goals. He just doesn't fully appreciate the time and effort needed to meet those goals. Especially when something on his list takes more precedence.

"It is real work, whether or not you think it is," I said, my voice firm with finality, and whipped him with a fierce look.

We'll see if he tries to utter such things again.

*evil laugh*


Has your significant other (or anyone, for that matter) ever let an insensitive comment slip, in relation to your dream or passion?

How supportive does he/she typically tend to be with your hobby or pasttime?


Author Jessica Nelson said...

OH, girllllll.
My husband used to swing quite wildly from "You're going to be a bestseller" to "You're writing again?"
Finally, I started saying, "Do you want me to be published?" And then I'd wait and let him answer. Because it's important that he says, yes, I want that for you.
Then I'd say, "It takes time to write a good book. If I don't put time into it then I won't get published."
That said, I also try to compromise with him and get writing done when he's busy with something.
Your situation makes me chuckle though. Of course writing is more important then getting that room done? Why can't he understand that? LOL

Rebecca Nazar said...

You go, girl, telling him what for! My hubby is very supportive, having never said anything like that, but I know deep down he envies my freedom to follow my bliss while he works nine-to-five. I fault him not. I try to kept my frustrations and whining to a minimum for his sake. The only pressure he puts on me is to write a novel--"where the real money is, he says". So, so true, but the pressure--ugh. Gotta love him, though.

Jewel Allen said...

He didn't! *gasp*

My husband might think that sometimes, but he wouldn't dare say it in front of me, not if he wants to get in the house LOL.

Grocery shopping is the sore spot between us. If I make sure I at least buy food for the family then he usually is okay if the rest of the house goes to pot :-)

Write on Janna.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud of you. It takes a lot of strength to carve out and defend your writing time when other things need to be done. Maybe he'll turn around and understand what's important to you should take precedence over his list.

My wife doesn't mind my writing time so much, it gives her time to read her books. Besides, she knows I get "grumpy" if I can't write. Overall she's supportive but like your husband, when she's got a list a mile long, she makes stray comments like that too if not an exasperated huff in its place.

Bottom line? A writer's got to do what a writer's got to do and what a writer's got to do is write.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I am truly blessed as my husband couldn't be more supportive! He gives me the space, time and opportunity to write and encourages me to keep at it even when I'm ready to shred everything and call it quits!

He's a computer nerd and writing is like a foreign language to him, but he listens to my rants and raves and is supportive and comforting.

He reads, rereads and listens to me read all my writing. His comments are always helpful. He never complains about hearing/reading a story for the hundredth time!

Joanne said...

My family is very supportive of my efforts, giving me the time I need; I don't know if the attitude you mentioned here is so much at the writing, or to the fact of working at home. It's funny how working "at the office" sometimes gives more authority to any work done at home.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Someone referred to my writing as a hobby. I know that's because although I earn money as a freelance writer I don't "make a living" writing. Even if I never made another penny writing, I would never consider it a hobby. Hobbies aren't necessary. Writing is.

Another time I outlined all the time spent with research, platform building, querying and pitching, submitting etc. I think if you lay it all out there - along with the marketing component necessary in today's world, people begin to understand.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

We have a lot of money stress in our house, so yes, things like this have flown out of his mouth. I believe the most recent was something along the lines of "I don't care about what you need to do unless it's bringing in money." That went over real well.

I'm glad you stood up for yourself. Like some other posters said, sometimes they need a swift kick in the pants to remember why we do what we do.

Anonymous said...

I heard similar sentiments. Reminds me of how people assume that when you are reading you're not doing anything at all. It's infuriating, but understandable.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Jessica - This is true. If we can be conscious of their needs or schedules, without being untrue to our own, we can compromise.

Rebecca - Must be common, this dream of money. Mine likes to tease about the day I'll support him with books. ;)

Jewel - I think this was a case of misterwrites not filtering his thoughts first. He tends to be blunt, and just say whatever's on his mind. I'm learning to take it with a grain of salt. :)

Cel - I love that very last thing you said; it's a great quote. Kinda wordy, but isn't that the point? ;)

Donna - Some of us may have to borrow your hubby! :D

Joanne - I think that is often the case, in any family where one stays home, either for the purpose of raising kids or for work. You'd think with my doing both, I'd get bonus points! ;)

Amy - That's an excellent clarification. I'd be personally offended, I think, if someone tried to "explain away" my writing as a hobby.

Melanie - Oy, that resentment that leads to a sense of entitlement. I've seen that, too, during more stressed times.

Rafael - I think it goes back to the fact that "they" just don't get it. Not on the level we do, anyway.


And btw, for those who aren't writers, I don't mean for this topic to alienate anyone. Join in if you have something to say!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh, I gasped right along with you on that! Writing is REAL work. Real hard work! Yeah, you don't get a paycheck from it if you're just starting out, but you don't get a paycheck for watching a three-year-old either and that is definitely REAL work. My husband is very supportive and I am so thankful for that. Usually his only comments are, "Aren't you done with that yet?" Oh, sure, I can write a whole book in two days. I do it all the time. Yeah right!

Tana said...

My husband is very supportive but like your will slip the occasional verbal blunder. It always reminds me of Jodi Picoult's husband who suddenly came around when she became a household name. Now he brings her lunch while she does the REAL work. ;)

Melissa Amateis said...

Oh boy. I can't believe he said that.

My husband was usually pretty supportive of my writing, though there were times when he'd get aggravated over me not coming to bed soon enough because I was still up tap tapping away.

Lots of males just don't get it. They think that if you stay at home all day, you just have tons of time on your hands to do anything you want because you're not REALLY working when you're 1) doing the laundry 2) cleaning; 3) taking care of children 4) cleaning; 5) making food 6) running errands 7) cleaning; 8) running errands 9) cleaning (did I mention cleaning?) and on and on.

JLC said...

My hubby would probably like to see me write more. I think if he were to say anything critical, it would involve the amount of time I spend chatting online. He isn't one to speak up about things. He will usually use very subtle means to convey his feelings and fortunately, I pick up on them.

He wholeheartedly supports me in every one of my outlets. (Photography, art, writing, gardening, etc..) I think he'd like to see me actually have the confidence to succeed in at least one of them.

scarlethue said...

Funny, I was just having a similar conversation last night. Husband was annoyed that I was paying attention to the computer and not him (it's not like he was doing anything, just laying there with the dog watching tv), and he called me a "blog-reader" like it was an insult.

He's not a writer, and although he likes to read, he's very particular on his subjects. I told him reading blogs was like reading short stories, and he wouldn't be annoyed if I had a book in my hands rather than a laptop. But he said it's not the same, it's like I'm sneaking into someone's diary. He doesn't get it.

But yeah, if he feels I'm neglecting him or something he wants to do, he definitely lets me know it. I usually have a reaction like yours.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I've had the "wink wink-you don't REALLY work do you?" thing - although since TG is coming out, I've had a bit more respect, I guess...pah, whatever humph! *laughing*

I'm not sure what GMR thought in the beginning, but I have a feelign he was feeling much the same way and would never admit it - well, not now - haha haha hahahaa *laughing* (half kiddin here)

Janet said...

I would like to say a word in Mr. Writes defense. It may be real work, but until we are getting paid for it, it's essentially a hobby.

Although, I do believe you get paid for your articles, right?

The odds are stacked against us when it comes to making a living, or even a decent supplementary income from our writing. And no matter how important it may be to us on a personal level, we have to keep that in mind when dealing with more practical-minded people. It may be real work, but it's not gainful work. Until it is.

I have a different problem. Hubby believes in me so much, he can't understand why I didn't start querying ages ago... (Yes, I got the "the editor will fix it" line.)

WendyCinNYC said...

My husband is very supportive of my writing, but I think he vastly underestimated how much time it takes. I think most people probably do.

*However,* we recently had a little chat about how I need to treat this more like a FT job than a hobby and, you know, things might start falling through the cracks. It surprised him that hey, if the kids need new sneakers--guess what? He's just as capable of taking them to the shoe store as I am. Shocking.

Kathy said...

I don't think anyone in my family thinks writing is "real work".

The little writing fairy swishes her magic wand and that wonderful novel comes into being.

Didn't you know that? :)

Janna Leadbetter said...

Cindy - Wouldn't that be something if you could? :)

T. Anne - THAT'S what I want!

Melissa - I know, right? ;)

Me too, Turk! Now where's my poultry syringe? Let's inject you with the mojo!

scarlethue - That's a great point; that blog reading is much like short stories. I like it!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Kat - Way to show him! :)

Janet - And he IS one of the most practical-minded people I know, too.

Wendy - I think they get overwhelmed by even the smallest of things!

Kathy - *drops everything, runs to toy box in frantic search of daughters' fairy wands*

Jenni James said...

LOLOL! That's awesome! And sure! My hubby has grudgingly allowed that i'm a full time author now. It sure helped once I got my agent that's for sure... but even now, there are days he wishes I wasn't writing so much. But then again, if I wasn't writing I'd be doing something else like Painting or planning parties or directing plays... poor man, he can't win for losing! LOL! Jenni

Woman in a Window said...

Ha, this is timely. Um, no, here, everything is perfect. That's right. And my husband isn't standing over my shoulder right now.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Jenni - I guess it's always something, right? :)

Woman - ROFL! Ok, shh... we'll talk later... ;)

Anonymous said...


I bet he wishes he could swallow those words.


Terri Tiffany said...

My husband supports me but he has also said it would be nice if I made some money at it--real money--not a few hundred dollars here and there. Especially with him unemployed, I've had to reshuffle what I do and search for jobs much more than I write.
But like your husband,mine wants me to follow my passion, but be realistic too!

Janna Leadbetter said...

FringeGirl - Yeah, he shut up pretty quick-like, and I think it was one of those "Oops" moments. :)

Terri - I guess such stresses (about writing not initially, if at all, making money) are especially amplified now with the economy. Makes sense!

The Hat Chick said...

Big Daddy calls my craft room the "craPft" room. He thinks everything I do should generate income. He's a capitalist pig through and through.

Lynnette Labelle said...

Yep. I hear: "What are you going to do today?" all the time. Ahhh, like taking care of 3 1/2 year old twins isn't enough. Men don't get it. My husband is supportive of my writing, but has his limits. Actually, my situation is very similar to yours. Do you ever hear: "I work my butt off eight hours a day while I'm at work. I expect you to put in a full day, working just as hard as me."?? Grrrr...

Janet said...

The very best way to make a husband realize what taking care of little ones really means is to go into hospital for a week and leave him in charge with no outside help. The question "What do you DO all day?" will never be heard again. After that, presenting writing as an activity necessary to your mental and emotional health shouldn't be too difficult. And unlike shopping or most hobbies, it incurs very little expense.

Presented like that, it's harder to argue against.

Lori said...

My husband also writes, so he understands how much time and effort it takes. In our case, I am many times the one who has to push for some work to be done around the house.

scarlethue said...

I know, I don't know where that productiveness came from-- his original plan was to fix the vent on the clothes dryer on the outside of the house where it's loose, and I was more that happy with just that. I picked very well!

I feel like a much more peaceful person after starting these lists.

Kelly said...

Oh yah. Yesterday, for example, I spent almost eight hours cleaning the office. His office. Every nook, every crany, every file folder. I made two boxes, one with tools, one with mail, that he needed to sort through. To show him how important this was to me I took him on a tour of the office and explained all I had done. I plainly stated it was important to me that he help here by sorting through his boxes, not just move them.

And where are they?

On the deep freezer. So now I can't get to dinner.


Janna Leadbetter said...

Hat Chick - That soooo sounds like a word my hubby would make up. :D

Lynnette - One of those things they'll never understand, until they're thrown head first into it, like Janet suggested. But even then, it'd likely be different, 'cause we're just programmed so differently.

Janet - Very true! Now that my husband isn't working a bazillion jobs and is home more, he sees what it's like with our two. He's a bit more understanding.

Lori - So he at least understands. Maybe a bit too much! ;)

Janna Leadbetter said...

scarlethue - That's great! I think it would do us all well.

Kelly - That sounds so typical. Are our husbands long lost twins? ;)

colbymarshall said...

I think no matter how supportive your fam is (or mine for that matter) is of your writing, they will always have that thing in the back of their mind that writing isnt "real work." I find it'll just happen, so I just do my best to know that and hope even if he doesn't fully get it, he can at least know that it means a lot to me.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Colby - That's good thinking. If we can steel our thoughts for those inevitable moments, we can be prepared and take them at face value.