Writing’s Strain on Family

In some ways I think that writing is a drug. I don’t mean that writing is going to get you tweaked and make you clean your house. (Though I know I’ve done several loads of dishes as part of my pre-writing ritual.) I’m not trying to say that writing is like craving for chocolate. Despite these statements,  writing does give me a rush, and if I don’t write my mood sours. Beyond both of these elements, I think that writing is most like a drug because of the strain it puts on one’s family.

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I am not currently at the point where I can make a living off of writing, but this doesn’t make me want to stop writing any less. How am I ever going to achieve my dream if I do not work at it now? My family does not see it this way, and I can understand their point of view. My girlfriend works at night as an RN, so during the day she sleeps. When she has a day off, she will often want to watch Netflix or just kind of hang out.

Since I’ve been watching our son all day, I gladly welcome a few episodes of Stranger Things.  Eventually, the guilt I feel about not typing sets in and I excuse myself up to my desk. Almost every time this starts an argument. She feels that I would rather write than spend time with her. I make some bull shit excuse about the few hours we were hanging out. She gets upset and finally tells me to go write.

Even if I do it, instead of getting lost in the story, I just fume over our argument. Part of me knows she is right, and I feel guilty. Part of me is frustrated that she isn’t supporting me. After taking twenty minutes to write a single sentence, I’ll go downstairs and start round-two.

“I think it’s bullshit that I you say you want me to be a writer, but never want me to write.” She’ll huff and mumble about how she doesn’t want to talk about it or something like that. Since I am all ready worked up I usually won’t let it go.

“Seriously,” I’ll say. “How many hours did you spend on clinicals during nursing school? How is writing at night any different from that?”

“Because, I could actually get a job,” She’ll finally snap. “I don’t want you to stop writing, but I think you are obsessed. You’re sacrificing our relationship on the chance that one day it will all pay off.”

I’ll be quiet for moment. It is not because I am angry, but because I have thought the same thing myself. Writing isn’t the same as going to nursing school. There is no definitive light at the end of the tunnel. Just like with drugs it seems like a never-ending loop. The cost of pursuing this dream is not measured in time word counts, and caffeine. It takes a toll on those around you. Even if I wanted to stop, I don’t think I could. The thought of never writing again is like thinking about a parent dying.

We’ve talked about it, and I am sure there will be more arguments in the future. For now I’ll continue typing though I will try to do it while she is asleep or at work. Maybe her mindset will change when she can see the results that I strive for.

3 thoughts on “Writing’s Strain on Family

  1. It is indeed a daunting addiction. Luckily, I found a woman that doesn’t pout whenever I want to write. She’s always been very supportive of my dream, just as I am with her. Try explaining to her that you love her, but you’re a writer and you have to do just that..write. Maybe make a schedule for writing and share that with her so she knows when not to expect you on the couch. Meet your word count and go back to her afterwards or when the allotted time is up. I hope this helps you, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too am lucky that my wife Becca supports me through everything. However, I have dyspraxia, which is on the autistic register, and sometimes she despairs with me. When she is left to herself when I get lost in things.

    Writing is one of those career choices which doesn’t have a pay cheque at the end of the month but it does have job satisfaction in droves. What helped us was if I said, “I’m going to write for an hour or two.” Saying it before in the morning or a time like that I think helps then it’s in her mind so that she can get used to the time. I hope it works out Steven.

    Liked by 1 person

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