I am just sharing this blog post from famous sci-fi author Brandon Sanderson from his blog, thought it would resonate with many of you since it comes from his wife who has to put up with him. I hope they don't mind, it is only from my admiration of his works.
Brandon’s wife Emily here. I was recently on one of Brandon’s livestreams where I was asked for advice in regards to being married to an author or creator. The below is the (edited for reading) answer I gave during the livestream. If you’d rather watch it than read it, you can scroll to the bottom where we’ve embedded it into the website, or you can watch it on YouTube here. Either way, I hope that our advice can help a few of you out there who may be struggling with this.
First off, it’s a wild ride. Also, this advice isn’t intended to be a solution for everyone because all writers’ careers are different and their writing styles are different, but I think being married—or partnered—to anyone who makes their living in a creative way, you have to learn to communicate well.
For example: I don’t want to get in the way of Brandon’s creative process, but at the same time, it’s important that he be a husband and a father and all those other things too. So, figuring out—preferably beforehand—that this is family time, this is us time, this is writing time, etc. Figuring out a balance that works for both of you, then making it explicit, makes a big difference.
You have to decide what your role is as far as being a critique person too. I know spouses of writers who don’t read their partner’s work at all, and their spouse doesn’t want them to. (I would be really sad if Brandon didn’t let me read his books, because I love them.) For others, their spouse is their foremost critique person and they want them to give them hard, honest, critique. Others still, would be like, “No, I need you to be the cheerleader. I need you to be the person that tells me the good. There are other people that will tell me what’s wrong. You tell me what’s good about it.”
It’s important to figure out between the two of you. What does your spouse need you to do? And are you okay with that? So I would say that clear communication—used to set future expectations—is the primary advice I’d offer. The next bit of advice is to find other people who are in a similar situation and ask questions. That’s what I did and we seemed to get things figured out. Often by the seat of our pants and sometimes to our detriment, but we eventually got it sorted and I know you can too.
Their YouTube video to the above...