The Ten Stages of Living With An Author
As I reach the sticky stage of my seventh book, I feel a sudden pang of sympathy for my long suffering husband and find myself prompted to write this post. OK, he’s not really long suffering. But I have come to recognise that there are certain stages that reoccur with every book. This is a shout out to all the supportive partners who put up with our little ways. Recognise any of these top ten?
One – The Distraction
I also file this with ‘distracted parenting’. Most writers are day dreamers, which also means we are prone to distraction. You may be in the middle of telling us about a fascinating incident at work when our eyes glaze over and we’re no longer in the room.
Two – The Random Outbursts
You’re quietly watching TV when we burst into the room and tell you we’ve come up with the most amazing book idea ever known to man. We’re mega excited because in our head it makes so much sense. Unfortunately, by the time it filters from our brain to our mouth the best bits get lost in translation and it comes out sounding like a pile of poo.
Three – The Resentment
This follows directly on from random outbursts. We have imparted our magical new idea and naturally you respond by staring at us in pure bewilderment. We then get annoyed because you don’t see the potential in this amazing new best seller. If only you could be more supportive of our work. I bet Stephen King doesn’t have to put up with this. *Cue sideways glances now.
Four – The Scribbling
After blurting out our new idea we will then run around the house snapping our fingers and mumbling words like ‘pen, pen, need a pen,’ in order to write on the back of an envelope / napkin / hand, trying to capture said magical idea before it floats into the ether. We’re so bloody excited but also scared as any second now we’re going to forget what it was. Random scribbling can occur at any time of the day or night and expect to be awoken from sleep as lights are flashed on and notes are made.
Five – The Indifference
After our random outbursts you may try to make up for your truthful but flawed reaction of confusion by becoming enthusiastic about the new Girl on the train / Gone Girl / Harry Potter type best seller we’re writing. At this point we respond by shrugging our shoulders, saying ‘meh’, and telling you it was a crap idea and we’ve now moved on to something else.
Six – The Solitude
Unless you’re coming loaded with coffee / chocolate / alcohol, then step away from the writing cave. It may not be a physical place (believe me, there will be times when you wish it were) – but wherever we belt out that first draft, we are best fed three times a day then left alone.
Seven – The Agonising
The most predictable of all my traits and possibly the most painful. Self-doubt is part and parcel of being an author (even Stephen King suffers with it) and thankfully my husband handles my manuscript agonies with ease. He calmly tells me that I’m like this with every book and it will pass. Wise words. Exercise caution but offer support.
Eight – The Recovery
Weeeeeeee I love this bit! When us authors get over the hump and everything is coming up roses. The words are flowing off the pages and our self-confidence is restored. Enjoy it while you can! It is short lived but great fun.
Nine – The Cover anxiety and Launch Day
Oh dear, I told you the recovery phase was short lived. The book is complete and it’s out of your author’s hands. Expect many jangling nerves, some short temper and biting of nails as important book milestones such as name, cover reveal and launch occur. Do not be surprised to find your partner checking Amazon rankings and reviews at all times of the day or night. Mood will depend on the success of both. This should subside with time.
Ten – The Repeating of steps one to Nine
Aren’t you lucky? The book finds its way out into the world and guess what? You and your author get to begin the whole process again. Repeat steps one to nine and remember that you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Are you an author or living with one? Does this list ring true or have you more to add? Comments welcome, let me know what you think.
Picture courtesy of Flickr creative commons, Katrina Ramser, gifs courtesy of giphy.com