Writing Through Relationship Struggles

Do these scenarios sound at all familiar? (They all happened to writers I know.)

  • You’re writing your first picture book, but your husband is jealous of your time at the typewriter and won’t speak to you at supper. (I know this sounds childish, but it happens fairly often.)
  • Or your wife reads your book and asks you what makes you think you’re a writer. (These struggles are not gender-specific.)
  • Or you’re struggling to write, but your recent marital separation has left you too depressed and exhausted to concentrate.
  • Or your wife gained fifty pounds to protest how much time you spend writing. (Yes, this actually happened to a writer friend.)

How to Keep Writing

Many talented writers lose confidence and lay aside their writing dreams because of marital problems. THIS ISN’T NECESSARY. However, it does require you to fall back and regroup when you have an unsupportive spouse, whether this person is just mildly irritated with you or has filed for divorce.

*First, develop faith in yourself. Rather than looking for outside support, look inside. The decision to write is made–and carried out–alone. Then write daily, even if just a journal entry. Nothing–no matter how long you write or how much you are published–builds faith faster that you’re a real writer than the physical act of writing every day.

*Create an outside support system. For me, this starts with God and prayer. Also join or form a writers’ group that can offer you encouragement. Attend writers’ conferences to hear inspirational speakers. Clip or photocopy encouraging articles from The Writer and Writer’s Digest to re-read when needed. I have a six-inch thick file of such articles.

*Change your writing time. When I worked at the dental office during my separation, I wrote for an hour before work and during my lunch hour, a totally different writing schedule for me, but the break in routine was effective.

*Change your surroundings. Our surroundings hold memories. And when they’re bad memories, they stifle our creativity. So change your place of writing. Work in the library or another room in the house.

*Just write. Writing won’t necessarily banish depression, but depression doesn’t have to banish the writing either. Don’t wait until you feel happy to write.  Just keep writing. Don’t edit at this point–nothing sounds good when you’re depressed. Write instead. Journal. Write out your prayers if praying is difficult at this time. (A helpful resource is Writing for Emotional Balance: A Guided Journal to Help You Manage Overwhelming Emotions by Beth Jacobs.)

Relationship struggles happen to most people eventually. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your writing. Take specific steps to keep putting one writing foot in front of the other. You want to have a career left when the dust settles–and you can.

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2 Responses to Writing Through Relationship Struggles

  1. Thank you Kristi. I thought I was alone. I have had this problem with my husband since I married him over 30 years ago. With strength from God I write.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Mary, it’s brave of you to say this. Most people don’t talk about it openly. But believe me, it’s more prevalent than you would expect, even among “Christian” husbands. I’m glad you know where to find your real strength.

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