Come play inside a writer's brain, scary!

Every writer knows a book needs a hero, a heroine, secondary characters, a villain or three, a conflict and a resolution. But what about the other kinds of heroes your book needs? I mean the people who support your writing.

Writing is a solitary occupation. We’re writing when we’re staring out of windows. In fact that’s often when the “real” writing gets done, when ideas are formed from the rough clay of  “what ifs”, ready to be explored on screen or paper. At those times, we need the understanding and support of the people around us, our friends and family. They are the people likely to get their heads bitten off if they interrupt our musings by asking what’s for dinner, or where their socks might have gone. These true heroes love us anyway.

I was lucky to have the back-up of my late husband, Paul. He’d only ever known me as a writer and he was also creative, so understood the process better than the average engineer, doctor or postal worker. Yet I remember being on a deadline and feeling thankful when he offered to prepare dinner, only to be asked, “What are we having?” Like Snoopy, my answer was something like, “Aaaaarrrrggggh.” Thinking about a menu was the last thing I needed right then. These days my sisters, other writers, my agent and online friends are my unsung heroes, cheering me on when the going gets tough, celebrating milestones and knowing when to leave me alone to write.

Not everyone is so blessed. Family can sometimes be an obstacle to your writing. It takes a long time to see any income – some writers never do.  Or they make so little that others can’t understand why you keep going. They don’t get that if it’s in you to write, you’ll do it no matter what. The writing itself is your reward. They see your books using up time they regard as theirs, and distracting you from their needs.

It’s a balancing act to share yourself between a “day” job, your writing and the important people in your life. Creating a schedule can help, as can writing early in the morning or late at night. When I wanted to be with Paul while still making progress on a book, I’d watch a TV show with him and scribble ideas and notes on a clipboard at the same time. Involving your heroes in your work can also help, if they’re interested in brainstorming, reading for you, or being part of the process in some other way. Like so much in life, compromise is the key. It’s not selfish to want to explore your talent, nor should you accept anyone else’s idea of what’s right for you. Online heroes are out there, if you can’t find them where you are.

Thankfully, most of us have our heroes much closer to home. Who are the heroes in your writing life?

Valerie Parv

http://www.valerieparv.com

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Comments on: "Holding out for a hero – beyond the writing" (10)

  1. Hey Valerie

    What an interesting topic…

    I am lucky that I found RWA, and the many hero’s who support me there, but closer to home, only within the last year I found my husband is a wonderful critique partner and sounding board for ideas, brainstorming etc.

    I once read that your spouse is to too close to you and you should never show them your work before it was published, now I wish I had never read, and listened to that piece of advice… But then I guess it depends on the spouse…I kept to that decree for too many years, and wonder how different my writing journey might have been if he has been there along side me instead of being in the background…

    I love that my true life hero is beside me both in life and in my writing now.

    Happy writing!

    Bye 4 now
    Tina

    • I find it helps to ask my “heroes” for specific help such as on pacing, who they think the villain might be etc. rather than whether they “like” a story or not. Of course they do, that’s why they’re our heroes LOL.

  2. Sherry Jones said:

    I’ve been fortunate in that while my children won’t always read what I’ve written they have generally supported me and allowed me space. I have a pair of Mickey Mouse ears that mean Bother At Your Own Risk. Silly as it sounds when I’m wearing them–they tiptoe and leave me in peace.

    My online friends are my writing heroes. They support, hound, cheer and encourage. Practice honesty in their critiques and offer cyber chocolate to ease any pains. They make it enjoyable even when writing is at its hardest.

  3. I have a number of them among my writer friends but my unsung hero is my husband. Despite the fact that he is not working and will not be able to for some time to come, he has supported me in my decisions (such as to take a redundancy package from work)! Although he is not a reader (not even of my work) and I’m sure sometimes thinks I’m crazy, he works around our home when he can, has become a better cook than me and in general makes it possible for me to be the writer I am. Thanks for your post Valerie, I must go and tell him how much I appreciate his support – he certainly won’t read it here!

  4. As you’ve found, there are many ways to be a hero to a writer. Cooking and housework would top many lists. We need a “Hero-to-a-Writer Appreciation Day” Or month, or year.

  5. Valerie, my hero has to be my DH (darling husband). After “The Incident of the Red Pen” he is banned from actually reading anything I write until after it is published but he is my rock. Since I lost my job in November last year, he has stood back and let me just write full time, without criticism or pressure to return to the executive rat race. The money was nice but having a wife doing what she wants to do is much better. There is an upside for him as well…it means he is no longer living with the Stress Monster, his standard of living has improved and he gets to say “I’m off to a conference in Queensland, would you like to come to. Bring your writing…” . Win win.
    And he just rolls his eyes when he asks me how my day was and I say things like “I spent the afternoon making love with a gorgeous guy” or “I killed three people”. Oddly he thinks I’m writing…

    • I’ve long known your DH as visual hero material, it’s wonderful to find he has the heart of a hero as well. You’re blessed, but you obviously know that.

  6. My family and my EHQN bat cave are tops on the list. You all keep me going when I would lie down in the gutter and die, artistically speaking.

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