First I apologize for stalling on the blog. I miss my readers. I hope you’ve missed the stories as well. When the end of our book waved encouragement, it was like sending a marble down the track, racing through the obstacles to the finish. Trust me, had I stopped to write a blog, it would have been a wordy resentment as to how I had to take time away from finishing the book. In the meantime, my dearest husband suggested (after much whining) that he write a blog for me. With that said: I introduce a very special guest blogger – husband, Sandy Palmer. Obviously, I did not choose the topic. How to Live with a Writer
As long as I can remember, I have loved reading. Still do, whether magazines, (read cover to cover), a daily newspaper, or at least one book. But writing? I suck at it! Any class I’ve taken involving writing, was painful, and book reports, unless given orally, received unremarkable grades. I’ve never been partial to one type of book; i.e. novel, sci-fi, thriller, mystery, etc. Likewise, I’ve never had a favorite author, at least not until twenty-five years ago, when I met Deb, my wife to be. She was finishing her college degree in Print Journalism. From the start, I enjoyed anything she wrote, as she had a way with words, capturing what was important, pertinent, what needed said. How to Live with a Writer
When we first met she was writing for the college newspaper; human interest feature articles. Post college, while working for a non-profit organization, she launched a newsletter, convincing the agency they needed a public relations officer. Soon after, we hung a shingle on our house, “Palmer Business Communications,” where she freelanced for other agencies, wrote a column for a local newspaper and cranked out resumes that pretty much guaranteed you an interview. After several years of writing for other people, she burned out, gave up the writing and spent the next twenty years in the antique business. How to Live with a Writer
Her passion for writing, starting when she was a little girl, didn’t go away, it just took a break. Like a serial killer, destined to strike again, Deb’s desire to write returned with a vengeance. Writing consumed much of her time. Not just the physical part of writing, but thinking about writing, planning about writing, editing writing, proof-reading writing, rewriting writing, publishing planning, marketing planning, and so forth and on and on. How to Live with a Writer
Did I mention that I am not a writer? From early on, I have been involved with Deb’s writing. Having done many things in my work career, I was useful in terminology and knowledge of skills needed, in numerous fields, when it came to resume’ writing. Once, shortly after she had quit smoking, and was dangerous to be around when she was stressed, I finished the last paragraph of a newspaper column, when my physical well-being was at stake. How to Live with a Writer
In the past several years, since Deb came back to her writing, she has written two books and maintains a blog. Both of the books are great, and I look forward to them being published. The first one, a collection of short stories, based on the beatitudes, is very entertaining, laced with much humor and a big yellow dog. By the time it was finished, Deb hated it, and it was put on the back burner. One of the stories has been published in a Christian Anthology, called, “The Birds of Passage.” The second book was recently finished in rough draft form, and Deb is again disliking it, saying that no one will want to read it. She’s nuts! Three chapters from this book have been posted on her blog, with rave reviews. I know that something big will come of Deb’s writing. How to Live with a Writer
Did I mention that I am not a writer? Deb thinks I am. I am not an editor. Deb thinks I am. I am not a proof reader. Deb thinks I am. I know that her writing is exceptional, and will be read and enjoyed by many. If she can be convinced of this,our lives will, possibly, become calm. I doubt it! On to the next writing project!!!! I am not a writer, but I will continue to be whatever Deb needs me to be, and mainly her #1 supporter.
If you, like me, live with a writer; my heartfelt condolences. I will offer some advice how to survive. Here are the 5 tips that I’ve learned the hard way. How to Live with a Writer
Tip One: Be Willing to Listen… NOW!
If said OCD writer approaches with a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence, a word or even an idea related to writing, respond as if they are holding a ticking bomb. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is more important. It doesn’t matter if you’ve drank three cups of coffee and are sprinting to the bathroom finish line…. Stop! Listen! Wet clothing can be changed; words may expire or combust.
Tip Two: No Faking
Let’s say the writer is reading a section to you that you really don’t understand, or even like.. Whatever you do, don’t plaster a grin on and say “I like it,” or it’s nice. I’ve come to believe writers have a special type of Extra Sensory Perception when it comes to this. Be sincere, but tread lightly. Honesty is your only way out, but stand back a ways.
Tip Three: React to the Writing…
I know this sounds silly, but it is for the best. Trust me. Practice your facial responses in the mirror. You will most likely need to times your normal reaction by three. If your normal response is “uh huh,” or “yeah, I like it,” times it by ten. Listen for humor and laugh as if you’re a drunk needing to be heard over the entire bar. Besides humor, expand your responses to cover content, story line, word choice, etc.
Tip Four: Repeat Yourself and Repeat Yourself
OCD writers are either hard of hearing or attention deficit when it comes to their work. Here is a typical conversation.
Me: That is really powerful. It’s great.
OCD Writer: You like it?
OCD Writer: Why do you like it?
Me: Because I think it is powerful?
And don’t be surprised or lose patience if later they ask:
Did you really like it?
Do you think anyone else will like it?
Tip Five: Take away the Club
OCD writers beat themselves up. If you don’t stop them, they often believe they cannot continue. Exchange the self-abating Billy club with the real source of power – God. When all else fails, I ask one question:
Have you asked God’s help?
With a divine light bulb above her head, she calms, thanking me for tipping her face toward heaven.
Check out a sample chapter of our latest book: