Guest Post: Marriage and Writing

Hello, hello!  Welcome to the year’s final guest post.  This month, we have my friend and fellow Stonecoast alum, J. R. Dawson.  In the following post, she discusses the importance of support and being believed in.  It’s pretty awesome.  Read on!

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The lovely J. R. Dawson!

Marriage and Writing

When Shawna asked me to do a blog on her site, I didn’t know what I was going to write about. And then I got sick. And then the deadline came and I was sick and didn’t know what I was going to write about. I assumed I’d end up doing some kind of intro or motivational piece about how to keep on keepin’ on. But then I realized there was something I’d heard discussed a lot, had experienced myself, and had never really seen a blog post about.

I think it’s been simmering since I spoke to a beginning writer a year ago and he mentioned that his wife doesn’t believe in him. She bemuses the fact that he wants to write, but she doesn’t support him. It doesn’t pay the bills, it’s so hard to break through, and she didn’t think he was very good.

“Can you give me something to tell my wife so she won’t think I’m hopeless?” he said. “What can I tell her?”

And I said, “Tell her to support you.”

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Spouses or partners don’t have to be writers, they don’t even have to like your writing, but if writing is your jam and it’s what you do, then what sort of partner isn’t going to back you up?

It seems like such a superficial fact, or maybe it’s giving too much power to this dude’s wife. But for real, if she’s not supporting him in this, what exactly is she supporting him in? It’s total disrespect to look at the person you’re supposed to love and say, “I don’t believe in you.”

Do you absolutely need a partner to succeed? Absolutely not. One of the most successful writers I’ve gotten to work with is a single mother. Some people purposefully do not want a partner, let alone a spouse. But for those of us who do enter into a pair, that other person has got to be behind us.

My past relationships are riddled with non-writers who thought I should give up, or writers who were in constant and violent competition with me.

Then eight years ago, I met my spouse.

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He isn’t a writer (although he’s very talented and I think of him as one, he’s off doing other things). He didn’t necessarily love books when we met. And sometimes we argue over my descriptive style when he wants more active (and grammatically correct) scenes. But he has supported me emotionally the entire way.

Actually, the short story “Marley and Marley” came from him literally jumping into my writing room every ten minutes going, “Keep going! You can do it! This story is important!” My latest publication, “When We Flew Together Through the Ice,” was resurrected from an early grave because he believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.

If writing is my heart, and my partner is supposed to love the deepest parts of me, how would he not love my act of writing?

When he proposed, I literally said to him, “This is not going away. I will always have one foot in our life and one foot in whatever project I’m working on.”

And he wholeheartedly agreed. “And so will I,” he said.

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Could I still be a writer without him? Of course. But if I’m going to be with someone, that someone better damn well be with me. All of me.

And does that mean he has to be completely devoted to every move I make with pom poms ready at the go? No. But he can’t tell me, “I don’t believe you’re going to make it.”

My heart broke for the dude with the wife who said such a thing. I hope they figure out their business.

But I guess what I wanted to say, in this here blog, is that you as an artist need to surround yourself with people who will raise you up. And if someone is too close and is pulling you down, you deserve better.

We all deserve to be believed in.

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J.R. Dawson holds her MFA from Stonecoast. She is an Active Member of SFWA and Codex. Living in Omaha, NE, with her pupper and husband, she enjoys working as a freelance teaching artist, writing science fiction adventures, and traveling to Disney World. Her short story “Marley and Marley” was in Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, and her new story, “When We Flew Together Through the Ice,” is in the November/December 2018 issue of F&SF.

A Month of Giving Thanks (Part One)

Hi there!  So, it’s November!  That means we’re coming up on my favorite holiday (and no, I don’t mean Christmas).  Yup, it’s almost time for Thanksgiving!  Because of this, while everyone else is getting all excited about Santa and elves on shelves and all of that wonderful stuff, I have decided to dedicate my posts this month to what this part of the season is really about: giving thanks.  Each week, I will list five things I’m thankful for.  Feel free to join in!

November

What am I thankful for?

1. Family, of course.  This includes Dads and Minions and the like.  I was raised in a way that let me realize early on that family isn’t about blood and biology, it’s about the people who love you for who you are regardless of what you can do for them.  They are the people who stick around (whether they live close by or just keep in touch) and let you know they think of you.  So, for my family who’s reading this, I appreciate everything you do.  I love you.  And that’s enough sap for a long, long time.  Never speak of this again.

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Dad!
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Minion!

2.Friends.  My creepy kindred spirits.  Whether we’ve known each other for 10+ years online or for less than a handful of years in real life or anything in between makes no difference to me.  You guys (and gals) are pure awesome covered in awesome sauce with a cherry on top.  And now, back to our regularly scheduled creepiness, please.

3. The Interwebz.  Aside from the fact that most of my friends live in there somewhere, it just makes life easier.  I don’t know how many stupid (or disturbing) questions I’ve found the answers to in order to make my stories more accurate.  The NSA might have me on a watchlist somewhere, but at least I know the correct procedure for performing an enucleation (and that’s not even close to the weirdest thing I’ve looked up).  Plus, I can stalk people.  Take that how you want.

4. Spiked coffee.  Whoever originally accidentally spilled booze in their coffee (or vice versa) and decided it was a good thing, you are wonderful!  And each person who has experimented with different combinations ever since is kind of great in their own right.  Then you have the genius who added whipped cream (you rock).  Don’t ask me why (because I really don’t know), but I love the stuff.  Disclaimer: I swear I’m not a lush.

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Yes, please!

5. The fact that I can block posts on Facebook from all of the people who started posting nothing but Christmas stuff at 12:01 AM on November 1st and they will never know.  Not that I would ever do that.  But, if you don’t hear from me until December… well, yeah.  Sorry, not sorry.

I think that’s enough for this week, don’t you?  I’ll be back next week with another five things I’m thankful for!  What are you thankful for this year?  Comment here or Facebook or Twitter or G+