Thursday, May 15, 2014

HELP! My family hates when I write....

"Moooommmmmmm... are you writing.. AGAIN?"

"Honey, are we really having frozen chicken nuggets for dinner... again?"

"Mooommmmmmmm.... You tell me *I* can't be on the computer, then why can YOU?"

"You write? I mean, are you published? Huh. How much did it cost you?"

"Honey, what's the point? You're not making any money anyway..."

That last line makes me cringe. My spouse has never said it to me, but I've heard of many who have, and I'd love to have a nice long chat with them.

The dynamics of writing are an interesting one when it comes to dealing with your family, especially if they aren't the "writer" type. Sometimes it's hard to understand how investing so much time and energy, many times with years of no monetary validation.

While I've been blessed to have a family who supports me, I've also done a few things to help keep it that way. Because there have definitely been moments when their patience for my "career" has waned.

1.) Protect your FAMILY time. I have times when I HAVE to write, especially when a deadline looms. But in non-deadline times, I make sure I protect my family time. Oh goodness. I just typed that, and a billion times when I have NOT done so flashed before my eyes. Yeah, I need to get better at this.

2.) Protect your WRITING time. Just like you need to protect your time with your family, put aside time for your writing though. I have a few WRITING ONLY times scheduled into my week that NOTHING gets in the way with. Messy house? It can wait. The only exception is emergencies or sick kids. They always trump writing:-)

3.) INVOLVE your family. If I'm having a plot point problem, sometimes it becomes a topic of conversation around the table. I LOVE brainstorming with my family. Eh, sometimes they don't care, but other times, they catch the story-crafting bug and start throwing out ideas. Even if they are all horrible, it feels good that they try. And in the case of my first book, Sandwich with a Side of Romance, my daughter actually helped me brainstorm the start of the book!!

4.) Have a family meeting. Don't roll your eyes at me! Seriously, if you feel like you're always getting slack for writing, sit down as a family and discuss it. I did this recently. I'm gearing up for my next book to come out late summer and am knee deep in writing stuff to do, and I was starting to get comments (mostly from my kids) about Mommy getting to go write and they had to sit at home and... play? Oh BOOHOO I say! Basically, I reminded them that while I do enjoy writing (most--some--of the time) it's also my JOB. The IRS recognizes this, and they need to as well! Just like I used to go to work everyday, I need to write everyday.

5.) Have Patience. If all else fails, just be patient. Sometimes they just won't get it. And that's okay. Love them anyway. Write anyway. When you DO get published, their eyes will perk up:-)

Discussion: How does your family feel about your writing? Do you ever struggle with justifying the time you spend writing?

(photo by

Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and author of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance . She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at She is represented by Rachelle Gardner.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Good tips, Krista. Yes, balancing family life and writing life is tricky. Sigh.

My kids like that I'm a writer, except when it means I can't play with them. When they want. We've had a couple chats about it. Thankfully, my husband is fully supportive. I've even brainwashed him into thinking I'm keeping up with most of the priorities we both have for our house and family. Um, just don't look at my kitchen counters right now. ;)

Seriously though, I try to do most of my writing when the kids are at school. With summer upon me, I plan to write for two hours during the day and let the kids play. If they give me my two hours of uninterrupted time, I'll take them somewhere fun on Friday or the weekend. They liked this last year.

I also do a little writing some evenings, when my husband is watching the kids. It's a daily balance for me, and I often fall down, but I'm working on keeping my priorities straight. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So so good, Krista!! And most definitely something I needed to hear! Really need to get back to scheduling guilt-free writing time. Harder to find with more kiddos but more necessary as well :)

Krista Phillips said...

Ohhhh, I LIKE that, Jeanne! "You give me 2 hours, FUN on Friday"

I totally might have to steal that! I'm ALL about bribing....

Krista Phillips said...

Amy, getting back in the groove is soooooooo hard after baby comes! But it'll be good for Momma to have some time to let those words flow!!!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I am blessed like you with a supportive family. They even include my current writing need in their prayers. How cool is that?

Pepper said...

Great post, Krista - and painful reminder to me of that need to protect my family time.

I DO LOVE involving my kids in story-creation, though.

Jennifer Mattern said...

I've been very lucky so far. It's just me and my husband. He's a software developer, and in addition to his full-time job, he started his own freelance development business last year. So we're very understanding and encouraging of each other, because we're both pursuing similar types of work. And we're both generally into quiet time and being left alone to work. So if we're both home, we just take to our separate offices, do what needs to be done, and meet up for "together time" as soon as we're both finished. Obviously kids might throw a wrench in those plans down the road. But for now, it works very well for us. :)

Saumya said...

This is such a great post. My parents weren't too into my writing but I'm lucky my fiance is. I agree with protecting your writing time. I learned the hard way that I don't need to explain this journey or passion to anyone. It's mine to relish and they don't have to understand. I love your balance and strength!

J.Q. Rose said...

Excellent topic! I'm lucky I don't have to juggle caring for children--other than grandchildren--with time for writing. My DH complains about me being at the computer a lot. I try to do it when he's busy with another project, but there are times I bury myself in the office. I have no words of wisdom for the solution. Just keep writing!

Unknown said...

Fabulous tips thanks Krista! I've had to warn my kids to not interrupt me mid-typing! If I have to stop in the middle of something, the idea's gone! Of course, there are exceptions, emergencies or whoops, the school bell's about to go. I have three kids and my writing largely revolves around their activities, I slot the time in when I can. Weekends I can do less, unless my husband clears the house and takes them out for a walk or to the playground.

Unknown said...

My kids have never been resentful of my writing. It is all they have never known. It is my job. When they were young, I supported our entire family. They have had many wonderful opportunities because of my writing career. Because of an abusive marriage, depression, anxiety, migraines, and anxiety, I had to take some time out, but I am getting back into it now, and it is the most forgiving profession. Basically if you can, you write. I don't have a jealous partner, and my kids are nothing but supportive.

Unknown said...

PS it is hard when you are on deadline though, and one of them is sick. The deadline has to go ... but that is with any job, right?