Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Author's Life Through a Spouse's Eyes -guest post by Jennifer's husband

Guest Post By Dwayne Taylor

So you you want to be an author? Ready for the money, fame and glory?

Well let me give you a reality check.

You won't make tons of money. Fame is probably not going to happen. And glory only lasts for a moment. Once your book is read, readers head for the next great book that just came out, leaving a fading memory of your book now collecting dust on their bookshelf .

Being married to an author (Jennifer Hudson Taylor), I can tell you that there is a tremendous strain that it will put on your family and your life. You will need the complete support of every member in your household (yes, even the dog). Without family support, you will not have the time, energy, or presence of mind to do what an author has to do to be successful.

My wife works a full-time job. She gets up at 5:30 am and leaves for work at 8 am, not returning home sometimes until 7 pm. So, writing time is early morning and late at night. Oh but wait, she has to make time for the family, too. Now the writing time window is even smaller.

Then there is research, networking, promotion, marketing, building a platform for yourself and so on and so on.. So where does an author find the time to be a parent, spouse, or have any kind of social life? Well, they don't, unless they have that family support that I was speaking of.

An author that works full-time needs a supporting family that is going to make the meals, clean the house, do the shopping, mow the lawn, care for the kids, be understanding, make sacrifices and most available to the author when the author has time to be available to the family or just needs the love of the family.

When tons of rejections start rolling in and you feel like giving up, you're disappointed, and depressed, only the support of a loving family will be able to build the author's confidence back up to keep them motivated to continue on.

The family must look at publication from the perspective that this is not only the author's dream, but it is a family dream. It isn't always easy and there are many bumps along the way, especially if you have children. Children don't understand deadlines, thought processes, interruptions, or the fact that you're on a roll. When they want mom or dad, they want mom or dad right then and there. As a parent you want to be there for your children. So, this is where the author must learn to have patience, understanding, and the ability to turn on and off their creative thought process.

Fortunately, my wife is a master at this. How she squeezes in so much quality time for our daughter in such little available time, I'll never understand.

My advice for those up and coming authors is to sit down with your family and discuss what it will take to make this dream a reality. Decide if being an author is a career move, a hobby, or just a desire to have your name on a book cover. Then consider the consequences of making it happen. Make your family aware of the sacrifices each of you will have to make along the way. Understand that it will be a life change for the entire family. It takes years before you actually get published as it took my wife over 10 years.

In the end, if you and your family are truly dedicated to making this dream happen, it can. You may be a one book wonder or you may be on your way to a successful career, but there is one thing I can guarantee. The first time you walk into a bookstore and see your book, it will not only be a rewarding experience for the author, but for the whole family, because in some way, they will feel that they had a part in making the dream become a reality.


Anne Love said...

Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. I work a full-time job with family also. My husband is so supportive of my writing, but the balance is tough to find. A big shout out to all family members of writers out there who work to be faithful to the still small voice (or many character voices) that says--tell My story!

Millie Samuelson said...

WOW and WOW again! What a superb piece! And SO TRUE! I don't know where or if this blog article has prior publication, but it certainly should be published in Christian Communicator and elsewhere, like Writer's Digest! And it's exactly the reason I didn't write my novels until I retired from teaching -- not that I didn't have family support. I did and do! But unlike Jennifer (who sounds so awesome :-) I myself just didn't have energy or motivation left after husband (who traveled for his work then), three kids, church, my full-time-plus college prof work (including heaps of academic writing) and ALL those college kids, AND READING. . . :-) But you know what?? I have no regrets. I always felt the time to write would come, and I happily collected boxes of novel notes and research. And looked forward to my life's dessert, which I'm now immensely enjoying. . . And YEP, no two authors' lives are the same! Such GREAT sharing -- thanks, Dwayne!

Valerie Comer said...

Like Millie, I didn't follow my dream until my kids were nearly out of the house and I landed a job where I could write AT work. Even then, it took nine years for the first (novella) contract. My husband is very supportive but neither of us was prepared to try to make it work when our family was younger.

I know putting off the dream isn't possible or desirable or obedient for some (many?) writers, but I'm thankful for the way it worked for me.

Thanks for sharing, Dwayne.

Robin Bayne said...

Great post! I also have the "day job" that is time and creativity draining, but we must work in our writing time against all odds.