by Patty Smith Hall @PattyWrites
Time: Life is busy, and it only seems to get busier. When our girls were young, I always thought I’d have more time to write, and I do to a certain extent. But even now that they’re grown with lives of their own, I find myself busy with aging relatives and grandchildren as well as speaking and church obligations. There’s nothing wrong with those things—they are what make life worthwhile. But when the agenda is binge-watching The Walking Dead or The Gilmore Girls, or six hours of football, I get antsy, like I’ve left something undone. Which means I get up at the crack of dawn or stay up passed midnight just to put words to papers. So what can the family of a writer give that would help? A little of their time. Throw in a load of laundry. Make dinner. Run errands. And not just once—make a habit of it. Giving your writer time to write is one of the best presents they’ll ever receive.
Encouragement: When I first started writing, my husband thought of it as my little hobby, something I’d do until I got bored with it. Then he saw me pouring time and money into learning the craft; he came across pieces of paper where I wrote and rewrote segments; he ate dinner alone on those nights I was with my writing group. As I grew as a writer, he became my biggest fan. But that’s not the case with everyone. Some spouses resent the time and money spent writing. I’ve heard horror stories over the years of discouraging family members that break my heart. How painful that must be to that writer’s soul! that b b a writer’s soul! Most writers I know(myself included) are already critical of our writing almost to the point of depression. So to hear someone we love heap hot coals on this area of our lives just makes us feel worse. So this Christmas, try giving the gift of encouragement. It doesn’t have to be much—a simple ‘I’m proud of you’ or I believe you can write that book or article or blog post’ can make all the difference in the world.
Prayer: This may seem silly to some—I mean, why would anyone pray over words being written? Because those words, that manuscript is important to someone you love. The dream of writing is a part of who they are, and their dreams should matter to you. Knowing that my husband prays for me and my writing daily tells me he’s taking an active role in in making my dreams of publication come true. It’s changed his outlook on my writing too. Where once he viewed it as income, he now sees it as my ministry, my calling for this season in my life. And I’ve got to say, I love him all the more for it.
Three simple things you can give that will make your writer more productive and grow your relationship—a Christmas gift to the both of you!