Friday, 17 June 2011

Love and support

Being taken seriously is a problem for any aspiring writer and not just by publishers. One of the greatest difficulties would-be novelists have to face is getting their family and friends on side.

Obviously, most people’s partner, mother and possibly even one or two close friends will be among the first to congratulate the writer as he or she victoriously clutches that publishing contract. However, their help is needed long before this stage.

As a writer I work from home. Being at home it seems means that, unlike a ‘proper’ job which involves going out to work and renders you unavailable between the hours of 9-5 or thereabouts - you are always on call. 

In my own case, my sister is the worst offender and she will think nothing of calling me at 9.30am in the morning and expect me to be available for a chat. When I see her number come up on the caller display, I tend to not answer the phone, prompting her to call my mobile. I call her back in the evening and after some serious apologising on my part, I am forgiven but that doesn’t stop her from doing it again.

Being available, also applies to medical and dental appointments and with three children there are many. My husband would never dream of taking time off work to ferry take one of our children to the doctor even if, as is now sometimes the case, I have an important deadline to meet.

Writing my book has to be literally squeezed into the gaps in the rest of life. I have tried writing at weekends, getting up early and sneaking into the study only to find that my son has beaten me to it. I have taken my laptop to bed, to discover my husband has decided on an early night. Lately, my daughter has been at home studying for GCSEs and it seems that she can only revise if there is music playing at full blast. You get the picture.

Finding the time and space to write is difficult. I have even tried sitting in cafes and tapping away on my keyboard but there is only so much coffee any normal person can consume in one day.

If asked, my family would all say that they are supportive of what I do and I know that in their hearts this is true but love does not always equal support. 

If a writer is to have any hope of succeeding, what they need most is to be left alone to get on with it.