(author and spouse will remain anonymous to protect their secret identities)
Author: What's it like being married to me-- I mean--an author?
Spouse: Rollercoaster, because at first she wants conversation to get the idea formulated, and there's lots of frustration for the writer because it takes time to get the ideas flowing. Sometimes irritability. So I'm dealing with many different emotions, lots of ups and downs.
(Hahaha, and you thought my pregnancies were rough on you!)
Then you have the first draft which involves a great push of
The NaNoWriMo was a good thing, because it jump started you and you forced yourself to write regardless. Rather than writing a page or two and getting frustrated, you just forged ahead.
Author: (Don't say you, we're trying to be anonymous here.) And? What else?
Spouse: Once the first draft is done, there's even more anxiety because now the story has to be elaborated on and filled out. Lack of sleep, periods of reclusiveness and isolation, the thrill of ideas and characters coming to life alternating with "this is crap, who will read it?" and "get me out of this stupid house."
Author: (Awww, he really has been paying attention.) Go on, tell me more
Spouse: Eventually comes a draft worth submitting, and more anxiety waiting to hear from publishers. Haunting the mailbox, wondering what took so long, wondering how the submission will be received. And no distraction seems to relieve the pressure of wondering, "Was it any good? Should I have waited? Should I have worked on it further?"
(This author sounds like a basket case with no self-confidence whatsoever!)
Finally a letter comes, the great day of reckoning, another rejection. Despair, anguish seem limitless. Self-worth plummets. "What was I thinking? What made me think I had anything to say that would interest anyone?" A week for recovery, mail it off again, and the cycle continues.
Author: (Oh, my poor long-suffering husband. He thinks this is bad, wait til menopause.) How do you feel about all this?
Spouse: It's exciting to see this work developed, honed, refined to where it can be accepted by a publisher. It's just like training up a child, you train up your little creation, your story, your book, and watch it go through all these steps. And I don't do laundry no matter what. I'm not much help there. Don't know why, I just can't bring myself to it. I should be willing to do that. (Clearly a guilty conscience at work here.)
Author: What about after it's published?
Spouse: To finally see the book in print is like the birth of a baby. It's new and wonderful and you want everyone to love it as much as you do. Your author/spouse is totally consumed by it, by the interest in its welfare, will it sell, will people like it? Wanting to tell people about it. Feeling like it's a personal affront when a bad review shows up, even by some illiterate no-nothing on Amazon. I feel like a new father.
Author: Thank you, Spouse, for an insightful interview into what it's like living with a writer in the house. You deserve a medal.