Families Supporting Writers
Okay, authors, here's a post you can print out and share with your family. You're welcome.
As writers, we all know what a lonely life it can be. And how many long hours it actually takes to produce a decent story. Many, many hours. The best support system I personally have is my family. I'm not afraid to look to them for help and advice. And they're good at giving it LOL!
I like to run plot ideas by my family, especially when I'm experiencing writer's block. My story in the novella collection Rails to Love was my husband's idea. I needed a romance with a train as part of it. I racked my brain to no avail. We talked about it at dinner. No one came up with anything. But as I was cleaning up the kitchen and he was putting our daughter to bed, he yelled down the stairs. "Circus train!" Duh. We live in Wisconsin, the first home of the Ringling Brothers. And so, the story was born. They've bailed me out more than once.
They're also good sounding boards. I like to teach them what good writing consists of. Yes, we have interesting conversations around the table. Yesterday, I taught them about deep POV. They at least pretended to be interested. As readers, they made some good observations. And it was helpful to me because I do speak to writers groups. If I can teach them deep POV, I can teach anyone :)
Because I write historicals, they're also helpful to me in my research. They both help me with it and they ask me good questions that I might not have thought about, which leads to more research.
And they keep me on my toes. The question around the dinner table always is, "What did you do today?" I need to be able to answer that I got a chapter written or that I'm almost finished with the story. At the end of the day, I have to be able to tell them something I accomplished.
Okay, now for the part you can share with your family. Even if they don't do the things listed above, here are some ways families can support their writers.
The Care and Feeding of Writers
1. Pitch in and help. This might be popping a frozen pizza in the oven or a load of laundry in the wash, or running an errand. It's the little things writer's appreciate the most. Just so they don't have to interrupt their rhythm when they're on a roll.
2. Be enthusiastic. Even if you don't understand what they're talking about, smile, nod, and let them talk. They might just need to work through a problem they're having with the story. By providing a listening ear, you're really helping them.
3. Spread the word. If you're writer has a published book, tell people at work, at school, at church, in the line at the grocery store. :) Word of mouth is the best marketing tool any author has. And that lets your writer know you care about them.
4. Let them know when they've had enough. Often, when the story is going well, it's hard for writers to shut it off. They put their heads down and hours can pass quickly for them. After a long day or week of working, remind them to take a break, have something to eat, go for a walk. In the end, they'll thank you for it.
5. Give them chocolate. Lots and lots of it. Enough said.
How does your family support you? Families, how do you support your writer?
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son is a U.S. Marine. She enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and LinkedIn. She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.