THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Guest Post: The Life Of A Writer’s Wife

I thought being married to/a partner of a writer would be an odd experience, and I needed a test subject to confirm my theory. So, without further ado, I’ll hand over to an expert on the subject, and the one person without whom my writing wouldn’t happen – my wife.


Of course, every “writing couple” are as happy as this cheesy 80’s pair.

There is a certain assumption that being married to a writer means you never see your partner as they lock themselves away for hours on end leaving you alone and bored. However, in my experience nothing could be further from the truth and I have been amazed by the variety that TJ’s writing has brought into my life. I have to say that when he told me he wanted to try writing as a hobby I was delighted. Mostly because we share a study, and until he made this decision I was subjected to the sounds of explosions, gunfire and swearing from his computer game characters. Writing, I hoped, would be a quieter hobby and more conducive to crafting (my hobby). Instead, strains of music can now be heard emanating from TJ’s PC. You would think that would be nicer than gun fire. However, rave is all too often the music of choice. With the incessant thumping and relentless rhythms pounding through my head yielding equally thumping headaches, maybe the explosions weren’t so bad after all!

I was also pleased because I am an avid bookworm, so I was really excited to see the process of novel writing from conception through to final product. Therefore imagine my frustration when after 60,000 words of a fantasy epic the project was abandoned in favour of a poem on snot! I HATE snot and anything gooey….YUK! I had a somewhat naïve hope that having got that little episode out of his system he would return to the fantasy novel. I was to be disappointed as that story has currently been shelved in favour of a random selection of short stories and novellas including horror, which makes me hide under the bedclothes and freaks me out, and an exploration of depression. I was hoping for a little light relief after that, as I am a fantasy/action adventure girl, but his idea of light relief was another few revolting poems including one on arm pits. Now, I have a THING about arm pits. It isn’t rational I know, but there is something about them that revolts me and sends unpleasant shivers down my spine – I think it is the thought of the slippery, smelly sweat that lurks in them – EEEW! Fortunately the revolting poems have been on hold for a while, but eighteen months since TJ started writing there is still no full length adventure story – I wonder when it will materialise.

Another unexpected side effect of TJ’s writing has been the exploration of different characters. When he is writing a particular character the manner in which he speaks can change, and some exaggerated mannerisms have been known to appear as he attempts to ‘get under the skin’ of the character to write them more accurately. As a result we have had some hilarious conversations in various improbable accents including uber-posh, Germanic, and something approximating The Wurzels. I am currently living with a toned-down version of Faye Ling, fortunately minus the scathing sarcasm and female clothing, although his language has taken an alarming dive towards the gutter. I know that authors have been heard to comment that their characters come to life and seem to write themselves, but I didn’t expect them to take on life in quite this way!

Although life as a writer’s wife can be incredibly frustrating (I only want him to write a nice story so I can shout from the rooftops about how proud of him I am) it is certainly never dull and I will be cheering louder than anyone when he completes his first full length novel, whenever that is!

What unusual things have happened to you since writing came into your life (either writing yourself, or your partner writing)? Has it brought new entertaining dimensions to your conversations with your partner? Both TJ and I would love to hear about your experiences so please feel free to leave a comment below.

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10 Comments

  1. How nice to hear from the other half’s perspective. My husband would say I’m the ‘shut-yourself-away-and-write-in-silence’ kind of writer (and he’d be right). But he’s amazingly supportive of my work. It really helps as a writer when you’ve got that.

    • I completely agree, without my wife’s support writing would be much harder and far less enjoyable. It’s as they say: “Behind every great writer there’s an old chair with a hole in the cushion.” :-)

  2. I rather liked the snot-and-armpit poetry!

    • Me too, but it isn’t something that garners much respect and admiration from others… When was the last time you heard, “Wow! I wish I could write armpit-and-snot poetry like you do!” at a writing conference? Or a writer’s family proclaiming, “Look at what XXXXXXXXXXXX has written about bodily functions. We’re so proud!” Not going to happen. :-)

  3. Lol it sounds more like his “hobby” has turned into writing weird things that will freak you out ;)

    Great post, it’s good to see the other side of a writing career. I’m not sure what my husband would say other than “she reads too many books and doesn’t write enough!” lol!

    • MY NAME’S ON THE REPLY, BUT THESE WORDS ARE MY WIFE’S: That’s true enough, even his nicest stories have moments that make me go ewww! I can sympathise with the “not writing enough” aspect of your comment. I am an impatient reader who cannot wait to read what TJ will write next.

  4. Hey TJ,
    Well Purple Ronnie has made a living at it (bodily functions that is.)

    In regard to what TJ’s wife has said:
    1) I have the dubious honour of effecting D’s speech pattern, she is now terrified of visiting nephews and being asked to name the various vehicles such as the tractor and combined harvester as I took the mick for a while doing a cross between Benny (from Crossroads) and the Wurzles. She now has to think very carefully about how to pronounce them.

    2) I have been known to ask D about Make-Up, lingerie and high heels. (She has wondered if I’m going a bit funny.) It’s been quite educational and I now know the different stages of make up, how it has to be applied, various colours for whether its day or night make up and how to accenuate certain features using simple tricks. In addition to this, having worked through the usual guy boot fetish, my female characters now stick to good ol steel toe capped kickers. (Better for running in and stomping.)

    3) Music tends to change depending on what I’m writing, D however has a big influence as I explain what I’m writing and she rummages through the record collection pulling magical tunes out of the hat. I do occassionally suprise her with some archaic musical knowledge and manage to name tracks from brief descriptions of what happens in the lyrics. There’s quite a bit of goth, quite a bit of recent rock (including System of a Down and Rammstien), a few 80’s classics as well as some earlier tracks and its pretty weird but fits what I’m up to.

    Whilst I’m no where near publishing and its a writers habit for me, I’m in Nano this year to try and kick my butt into getting sorted properly. Here’s hoping.

    • Hi Gareth,

      Apparently, Purple Ronnie’s poems have lead to some lucrative advertising deals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs7AVoHRN3A :-D

      I’m assuming D is your other half? Knowing someone who is so suggestible must be great fun – my wife’s accent is as stable as a rock so there’s no entertainment value for me there. :-(

      I have never explored the arcane world of female beautification to the depths that you have. If your female characters now wear kickers, I assume they are more like you. What you don’t say though, is the extent to which you are now more like your female characters…

      Having D sort your music for you sounds wonderful. Personally, I would always go for an iPod – they are smaller, easier to recharge, and faster to respond. ;-)

      Good luck with Nano next month. I’m way too busy with real life to try it this year, but maybe one day…

  5. This is a GREAT interview T.J., we are treated to a glimpse of the real you! I think the spouse of a writer has to be cut from a forgiving cloth, my husband threatens to sleep with one eye open when I subject him to a story scene, or one of my rants because a scene is not working. :(
    You’re wife should write – she’s funny! Loved the interview – thanks for the giggle. :D

    • Hi, Sandy, I’m glad you enjoyed it. My wife is one of the most forgiving people I know – she has to be because we share a house. ;-) It’s good you had the sense to pick a brave man to marry – if you’re going to write thrillers then he needs to be made of stern stuff… B-)

      I’ve encouraged my wife to have a go at writing, but she is very much into her crafting and doesn’t have time for both. She’s also a gentle soul, and hates it when writers kill off, or are nasty to, her favourite characters; the only writing she has expressed any interest in doing are children’s books.

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