Monday, July 11, 2016

A Tribute to Writers' Spouses — by Patricia Beal

This Saturday, my husband and I will be celebrating 11 years of marriage, and, for half of our time together, I've been working on my debut novel.

Even before I had the idea for A Season to Dance in early 2011, he was already buying writing magazines and books for me, certain that one day my writing dream would come true. Through the years, he has supported the dream emotionally, domestically, and financially, so I thought it fit to pay tribute to him and all writers' spouses out there today.

One of the best ways I gain knowledge, support, and success in the writing life is through writers' conferences. Our spouses should have a conference, too. How great would it be if we could send them to an annual gathering of people who deal with the same things they deal with in the crazy writing life that's their life, too? Here are some of the workshops I believe they should have (veteran spouses and field experts would teach, of course) -

The 100-level classes:

101 - It's okay to let your writer sing "Islands in the Stream" (or other song of choice) 129 times in a row when he/she finishes writing chapter 1 of every novel produced.
102 - How to help your writer practice his/her conference pitch (129 times).
103 - How to be a great body language and sensory detail laboratory without losing your dignity (let your writer touch your cheek and breathe you in many times, so he/she can describe it properly; reach out for your writer's hand many times, so he/she can study what parts of the hands make contact first, and how it feels; and many other potentially awkward and often repetitive explorations).

The 200-level classes:

201 - When you agree to do all the house chores so your writer can work, don't be surprised if he/she spends most or all of that time on social media. That can really be the task at hand for the writer's work day. Take the class to understand why.

202 - How to support your writer during writing contests.
203 - Become an expert on taking social media photos for your writer's online platform. You'll learn to click often and fast and with a smile and proper cheerful attitude.

The 300-level classes:

301 - Publishing as a second language (because a WIP is not a whip, vlog is not a typo, and MS is not multiple sclerosis). Learn the difference between developmental edits, line edits, proofreading, and other terms. You'll hear it (and often pay for it) for years to come--might as well understand it.
302 - The importance of annual conferences and occasional paid professional editors on the path to publication.
303 - Financial planning.

The 400-level classes:

401 - You should only survive on pizza, nuggets, and noodles for so long: Creative meals for the whole family--on a budget.
402 - How to combine family vacations with writers' conferences and book research.
403 - What to do when your writer cries for hours, overwhelmed by the beauty and depth of the characters and stories God has blessed him/her with. 
404 - A lifetime of dreaming big and praying big for two.

By our 2017 anniversary, A Season to Dance will be a 2-month-old book baby, thanks to God and Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

I could not have done it without my husband's unfailing support. Many times I wondered what I would do if I never got published. But that thought never crossed his mind--he always knew that the day would come when a publisher would make an offer, and because he didn't waver, I didn't waver. Thanks, baby!

On Tuesday he will put on his Army uniform for the very last time to "final out" and get his retiree ID card. He wants to go back to college and dreams of getting a walk-on spot on the University of Texas - El Paso (UTEP) football team. At his farewell Friday night, the guys were already chanting: "Rudy! Rudy!" :)

I pray I can be as good to him in his pursuit of a wild dream as he's been to me in the pursuit of mine. "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

Tell me your stories! Who's your main supporter? A friend? Parents? Spouse? What do you think about a spouses' conference? What classes would you add?

Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, comes out on May 9, 2017 (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).

She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Now, after a 10-year break in service, she is an Army editor. She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children.


  1. Ha! You'e got some great classes here for spouses. I especially like the "Writing as a second language" one.

  2. Lovely tribute, Patricia. The writing life would sure be a lot harder without a supportive spouse. Raising a glass to them all now!

    1. Thanks, Ian :) By the way, I think we are both prayer room volunteers for ACFW 2016!

  3. I got back into writing taking an evening course at the local college when I had a nine-month-old mama's girl. My hubby walked the floor for hours to keep her happy/asleep while I was away. In August he gets to handle three little munchkins while I go to ACFW conference! If he didn't encourage and support me, I don't think I could consider it. So grateful! I love your courses, though. :) He is getting pretty good at the language, etc, so I'd probably put him right into the 400 courses.

    1. Level 400 indeed. Go daddy! So glad you'll be at conference! I still remember your sweet blog post from last year :)

  4. Patricia, I loved this blog. I know my hubby would relate to many of the workshops you've listed. I could not have achieved what I have without his support. So I, too, salute those wonderful writing spouses.

    1. Thanks, Marion:) And congratulations! You're on a roll! First the Helsinki Sunrise Norway deal and then the Whispers of Love box set hits the USA Today best sellers list. Wow! Your husband must be so proud :)

  5. I love class 202! I would definitely sign my husband up for that one. He definitely doesn't correlate my time on social media as writing "work". And it can be at some pretty crazy hours given the time difference between NZ and the US :)

    I had started writing before I met my husband but in a fit of excellent strategic planning/last big hurrah with my single's disposable income I attended my first ACFW conference the year before we got married so it came as part of the deal ;) But I am so so grateful for all of his amazing support. When you don't live in the US going to things like conferences are a huge financial commitment and he never made me feel like he thought it was a waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere (like on our mortgage!)

    1. Hi, Kara! I remember your husband from the Close to You video. He could teach a class: "how to be in your spouse's book release video without embarrassing yourself--or your author/spouse" :)