This one of the top five questions I get from beginning writers, ranking right up there with finding the time to write.
Unless you’re a hermit, you decision to be a writer is going to impact people around you. Especially your immediate family. Serious writing is a commitment of time and money to learning the craft as well as the actual writing.
I am blessed to have a wife who not only accepts my career choice, but also actively supports and encourages it as well. She is the first reader of most of my material. She understands the importance of conferences and seminars and critique groups to getting to be a better writer.
We’ve had to work at this and we keep working at it, lest I take her support for granted. We stop and evaluate where we are as a couple in relation to this writing dream. There is always the danger I will get so wrapped up in a project, I don’t pay enough attention to her and our relationship, to the stuff of daily life that we need to take care of together.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my own writing journey and from mentoring other writers.
Sit down with your spouse and your children. Talk about why you want to write and why it is so important to you to pursue this dream. Enlist their support in helping you find the time to write. This might entail sharing chores. It could also mean your making the choice to get up earlier or stay up later. It might mean you having only one significant block of writing time per week. It’s a process of negotiation and compromise. It’s finding and then maintaining that balance of family and writing. And if you work outside the home, you have to balance three things.
Once you have this initial agreement, revisit it at least every three months to make sure everyone is still okay with. Life changes and our writing schedules need to change with it.
Finally, don’t forget finances. It costs money to be a writer. You’ll need a dependable laptop and other gear, you’ll need to invest in books on writing, you’ll need to take courses, attend conferences and seminars. These expenses will have an impact on your family’s spending plans. This is something you must discuss with your spouse, even if you can finance it out of your own earnings. And, above all—don’t spend money you don’t have.
What are some things you’ve done to get your family on board with your writing?