This week I’m reflecting on those poor souls who have chosen to share their lives with an author. They are the unsung heroes, in my opinion. Sure, writing a book is hard work, but what of the people who are along for the ride? Spare a minute’s thought for these very generous, patient and understanding people.
Take a look at what they have to put up with…
- Authors get distracted easily: you think you’re having a conversation with your author partner about your plans for the weekend? Wrong! We might be nodding along and appear to be paying attention, but inside our author minds we are working through a particularly frustrating plot hole or thinking about their latest character. This is why it’s advisable to repeat information on several different occasions.
- Get another retirement plan: if you’re hoping to retire on your author partner’s royalties, think again. The sad fact is that most authors won’t earn enough to make a living. In Australia, the average author earnings per annum currently sit at around $7,000. I’d encourage them to keep the day job if I were you.
- They read. A lot. When we’re not pretending to have a discussion with you, chances are your author partner has their head in a book. Authors are actually quite good conversationalists on account of the fact we’re well read, but engaging us in a conversation is the tricky part.
- Authors get frustrated/grumpy/moody when they don’t have enough writing time. Authors frequently feel a sense of frustration that life gets in the way of their writing. Work, family and other commitments often make writing time difficult to achieve for authors. Unfortunately giving up the day job and writing full-time isn’t always an option either (see point number 2 on getting another retirement plan above).
- Authors get frustrated/grumpy/moody when they’re writing. Just because an author is actually writing doesn’t necessarily equate to their personal happiness. Oh no! Not even close. In writing a book, an author commits to a perilous journey of ups and downs as they navigate plot twists, character development and let’s not even start on editing. In addition to this, the author frequently chooses to forgo certain social events and recreational occasions in order to write. It’s not that we’re hermits or unsociable, it’s just that this book is not going to write itself. And sometimes that makes us grumpy(er).
- Social events can be a challenge. I repeat, it’s not because we’re unsociable. Rather, when we do actually take time away from our writing to do something fun, we inadvertently find ourselves taking on the role of observer. People and situations are incredibly inspiring to authors. It’s not that we’re going to write you into our next book or retell the situation exactly, but aspects of an author’s night out may or may not make it into their work. We call it creative licence…
Sharing life with an author isn’t all bad
Well, I hope not anyway. In general, authors are generally pleasant people. The road we’ve chosen is not an easy one and when we receive the support of our partners or spouses, family, friends, other writers and associates, it means the world to us. We realise pursuing our passion involves sacrifice and often it’s a sacrifice that effects those around us personally and financially.
So if we do get distracted and moody from time to time, it’s because we’re passionate about making this writing gig work, not because we’re unhappy. Trust me.
Any more reasons not to get involved with an author you’d add to the list? Or are you a long suffering partner of an author? Do you agree with the reasons above?
*Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net