Today was not a good day for writing. I woke up early, as usual, to do some writing, but a myriad of things required my attention, breaking my concentration. Before I knew it, the day had begun and an unprecedented number of clients called up, interrupting me every five minutes.
None of this would matter, of course, if I hadn’t already missed yesterday’s writing. As I aim to have the fourth Pearseus book ready by Christmas, this means I have to write 1,500-2,000 words daily to have any hope of meeting my target.
Then, I made the mistake of expressing my frustration to my wife, Electra. An expression of deep care and sympathy failed completely to appear on my beloved’s face. Instead, she announced she’d be writing a blog post, to be shared with the world. As she forbade me from making any changes, I give you Electra’s post, titled:
The life of an author as lived by his wife
Hello Nicholas’s followers. Today I’ve hijacked his blog because I want to tell you what the life of an author’s partner looks like. To all the partners of authors and writers, I encourage you to comment and share your experiences; should you have any good tips about making life more fun, please let me know!
As you know, I am no writer: I work, cook, garden, walk the dog and go swimming (a lot, as Nicholas has mentioned before), but I don’t write. Therefore, I don’t have the urge to immediately write something down every 5 minutes or so. I don’t get that vague look in my face which usually indicates that someone just had an epiphany about what happens in book 15 of the series (or a stroke). And I don’t do plenty of other –cute but slightly annoying- things. So, let’s start.
- An author’s house is filled to the brim with notebooks. We have them in the living room, obviously in our bedroom and (on an occasion) in the bathroom, because you never know when inspiration will come. When friends come over, we have to explain the role of the notebook in the toilet and why it has some unfinished sentences, quite a few of which could easily have been written by a terrorist, a mad scientist or an artist on meth.
- The aforementioned notebooks come in handy at the most interesting of times. He will write down an idea at 2.00 am because he had an exciting dream. He will scribble something when eating, because he remembered a nice quote that had something to do with food. He will note down friends’ names, conversations or funny stories, the moment we come back home because otherwise, he will forget (you know he forgets a lot, right?).
- Never, ever go through his internet history, it’s scary. He has the most fascinating knowledge regarding some unheard illness, poisons or historical references. His books being what they are, these are the subjects that have a connection with his writing. Clearly, had he been writing romance, he would have a good familiarity with subjects such as divorce rates, marriage proposals and how to find a lost sibling through a detective. Now that I come to think of it, I think I like his current subjects of interest. Obviously, talking about horrible ways to die when having a wonderful dinner is not really the conversation starter or filler, but you get used to it.
- If you live with an author, you need to be silent and quiet for long stretches of time. Nicholas wakes up at 7 in the morning and needs to write about 2,000 words per day (yes, people, he has calculated how many words he needs to write in order to finish his book by Christmas, and let me tell you, it’s a tall order). If, for any unforeseen reason, he doesn’t get his daily word quota written, then at some point in the day, he must find complete and utter silence so as to sit and write. Which means that I go swimming (hey, you were wondering why I swim so much!), I walk the dog (bear in mind she is 10 years old, so long walks are not really the prescribed exercise, but what can you do), I cook, albeit very silently so as not to disturb him (try mixing up a cake batter very quietly. Not easy!) or I do some gardening (thank God we live in Greece and there is plenty of sunshine to go outside and garden).
- People living with an author are bound to miss a few phone calls. I discovered that because, sometimes, when Nicholas writes and is looking for complete quietness, he turns off the phone. Thankfully, there is email, carrier pigeons and other forms of communication, so friends and family have discovered new means of getting in touch with us. I hear that a few of them are considering learning smoke signals from tutorials taught by Native Americans on Youtube.
- You will need to repeat things 3 times. The first time, he will hear you, but not listen to what you are saying. The second time, he will actually listen but immediately forget what all was about. The third time, he will both listen and remember -hopefully. Never be fooled by a nod and a muttering that sounds like, “OK, I’ll do it”. He is probably talking to one of his characters and definitely not to you. If you discover that you organized a nice picnic and invited about 20 friends but the author-in-the-house had no idea, then count again how many times you talked about the aforementioned picnic: you must have missed one.
- He will have many friends you don’t know and that’s OK. Followers of Nicholas’s blog, he knows you and likes you and talks about you at home. I have no idea who you are, but he seems to know how your day was, what you do for a living, the name of your cat, dog, rhino and elephant (in that order), and of course, the country you live in (which, incidentally, leads to interesting conversations between us regarding where we would move, if we ever wanted to leave Greece. Up until now, the Caribbean is a strong contender, alongside Canada, New Zealand and some other places he mentioned, which I forget). As you can imagine, some of our chats are funny because names keep popping up and I nod and I have absolutely no idea who that person is. But I nod.
- Your Kindle will be filled with books to be read. There is, realistically, no possibility for him to read the 2,000 books he has on his Kindle, plus all the books he has on his Amazon wish list (I have a few as well, mind you) plus all the books that other authors keep sending for reviews, beta-reading or just for fun. In his attempt to finish this oh-so-expanding reading list, your author-in-the-house will constantly have a Kindle in hand and will read everywhere in the house. He reads when he cooks, when he shuts the shutters before going to bed, while talking on the phone with his mum (never tell her that, but he misses most of her monologues because he is obviously reading and he keeps mumbling ‘a, ha, ha’ at specific intervals so that it doesn’t seem like he is paying no attention and she is speaking to herself, which ultimately, she is) and whenever he has 5 minutes of possible boredom. Let me tell you something, even with the speed and frequency with which he reads, I seriously doubt he will ever finish his to-be-read list. But I admire him for his optimism.
- He will judge every place you visit in terms of possible writing hideaways. Is it quiet enough? Does it have wifi? Is there a desk? Do you get a peaceful view? Will the neighbours be annoying? How about the sun’s position? We went on holidays and he kept mentally measuring the room –remember he is an engineer, so he can actually do that and be pretty accurate in his mental calculations- to check whether a desk could be added so that he could write. By the way, the room was big enough, so the answer is yes.
All in all, life with an author is fascinating, but you really need to take everything with a pinch of salt (and pepper and perhaps a little bit of paprika). And find a good hobby that gets you out of the house. A lot!
This is fabulous. My husband has to tell me everything 3 times too! That cracked me up, but really…it’s all the same. Too funny! Thanks for sending the link. 🙂
I thought it’d resonate! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Nicholas, Sandy said Electra is “right on”!!! Especially about the part where you say something 3 times before you actually answer it 🙂
Ha ha – I knew it wasn’t just me 😀
I never knew you when Electra wrote this, but now I am feeling guilty at yet another DEMAND made upon both of you! I can slip away now and regret not meeting Electra, or that GB is not on your list of emigration hot spots. But maybe I should send her a short story entirely based upon an internet history found by a French policeman who assumed that the writer had murdered a victim because of the Poudre de Succession- (Arsenic) search which left no traces if administered slowly!
Never mind Electra, now *I* want to read that 😀
We’d happily come back to GB, actually – especially back to Edinburgh. Depends on the job 🙂
Well I have this cowshed…and a possible performance space? You can see where here.https://www.collaborart.com/index.php?page=the-barns. Electra could garden for food, we could hold readings, talks and sell megapiles of books and I would have a ready made cast for the play-and even the theatre on site! And it is QUIET. I have written my next blog on the tenants I do not want instead! Very risky but feeling wild. Oh so much could happen with the right people and virtually no money!
Not sure where she would swim?
What a lovely place – absolutely stunning!!
So weird – there is a professional group called Parnassus in Greece, too. In fact, it’s one of the oldest music groups still going, as it was founded over a century ago.
I should have added that Electra would also be the Sophia of sanity! I just realised that the Parnassus link goes to the group that were sold a website hijacked from our original one. That Parnassus was led by my daughter and took Benjamin Britten to Malta. Wonder whether that was such a hot idea? So irrelevant now. In fact it is all evidence of dead dreams but I keep the website for occasional use-like here.
It sounds like a nice dream, though. Love the place 🙂
This was hilarious! And I can definitely relate to talking to people I know in real life about people I know in blog land. I get really excited about making friends in exotic places, and their pet cat, dog, rhino and elephants! I’m not so bad with the notebooks but I could easily see that getting out of control. Glad I found this old post 🙂
Oh my, a sister soul… 😀
Mwha hahahargh! The one about repeating things three times? My husband is a martyr to that but then, you are clearly doing exactly the same thing, as outlined in the next section! Which made me laugh even more. I do find it impossible to remember stuff – to the point where I was beginning to wonder if I’m becoming mentally ill. Now I know I’m probably just a writer, behaving like one.
Lovely post, good luck with the swimming, I should imagine you are going to have a resting pulse of about five, the amount of swimming you’ll have to do while he finishes writing Persus 4!
MT, I have no idea what you’re referring to. Me, forgetful and absent-minded?? Nonsense, my dear. I couldn’t — ooh, cheese!
I cannot believe you’re not a writer. You held my attention to the end. I’d love to read more of your posts, but I don’t blog or twitter.
Thank you for putting a smile on her face! 🙂
Electra must start a blog. I insist on that. She is really good.
Oh no, don’t encourage her! Today’s she’s been threatening me all day long with, “I’m so gonna blog about this” every time I didn’t do her bidding! 😀
Welcome and thanks for the comment. 🙂
Oh…. I can imagine all of it 🙂
Reblogged this on MM Jaye writes… and commented:
Hilarious guest post by the wife of sci-fi/fantasy writer, Nicholas Rossis, who lives and breathes the writer’s life. Loved it!
Wow! Joining late… Not surprised that this is such a popular guest post! Electra, seriously you should start writing! I totally sympathize but I wish I empathized. Being the wife, mom and not the main breadwinner, my writer’s needs are addressed only after I’ve taken care of baby, hubby and basic house needs. But were things different, I’d more or less act the same way… Reblogging!!
You too?? Like I said a short while ago, she’s now threatening to start her own tell-all blog! 😀
Hi Nicholas – I really enjoy reading your posts so I’ve nominated you for another award – the Leibster Blog Award. You can follow the link to my blog and answer the same questions I’ve answered – http://www.robingott.com
That is so kind of you, thanks!!! You made my day! 🙂
Yes, absolutely. This is so true! Sounds like me. Writers get so absorbed in their writing they just forget about everything else. Sorry, guilty as charged!
Whaaat? That’s crazy, I’m nothing like that! Now, where did I put that phone… 😀
Reblogged this on Effrosyni's Blog and commented:
I came across this hilarious post today, written by the wife of author and friend Nicholas Rossis. I saw myself and my husband in this and we howled together reading it. If you’re a writer living with a partner who’s not one, chances are you will relate greatly, and will get a few chuckles too in the process!
Oh dear, this was hilarious! Electra, you’re a secret talent! Such a pity you don’t write! I saw myself lots in this post, especially the muttering bit as I never listen when my husband talks to me while I am at my desk. He read the post too and said it might as well have been written about him and me as our experiences are so similar! Thankfully, we’ve found a nice balance too for our daily lives so that I don’t annoy or alienate him too much. On weekdays, he is away working on his daytime job when I do the 10-hour-a-day indie thing, and on the weekends, when I need to return to my desk for a few hours, well, let me just say, thank goodness for his aeromodelling shed in the back yard!!!
Writing is a lonely profession, isn’t it? I think that’s why I enjoy so much blogging and social media. But you’re right, striking the right balance can be hard at times, but wonderful when it finally happens.
Great post. Must get my partner to read it. At least she’ll know she’s not alone!
You should all stop encouraging Electra – she’s now threatening to start her own tell-all blog! 😀
Oh my, this was hilarious. Electra did a fantastic job writing this. I definitely think she should start her own blog.
You’re not the first one to suggest that… Perhaps we should start a petition! 😀
Reblogged this on TJ's New Book Blog and commented:
I thought at least spouses of my writer friends & followers might enjoy this.
Well done, Electra! Have you considered stand-up comedy? You have 2 good muses to start with (Nicholas & the dog), the notebooks are already in place, and you have a sharp wit. If I lived in Greece, I’d be the first in line for your opening night!
Thanks for sharing this, Nicholas. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Didn’t have much of a choice now, did I? 😀
You put a smile on Electra’s face, thank you! 🙂
Bravo Electra! As a writer I had to laugh reading this, knowing full well it’s all so true for many of us. My husband has learned that if I don’t answer I am engaged in thought and depending how deep I’m in my writing, some nights there is just not going to be dinner. He doesn’t mind the cereal, so I’m lucky. 🙂
Thank you for putting a smile on Electra’s face! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
What a great post, and lots of home truths.
Although I am not yet working writing a second book, I am working on ideas, I am blogging, I am keeping in touch with my followers and fellow authors, and I am focusing on marketing. My husband will ask me how long I am going to be in the office when I have been in here for hours. Then I get annoyed when he wants to use the computer to check his email.
This is a lovely post Electra. I think you could have your own blog as well.
You let your hubby use your computer?? You’re a better person than me, Kathryn! 😀
I keep telling her to start her own blog, but she says that she’ll just take over mine when the time comes. Then she slips back into the shadows, laughing manically. Should I worry?
Reblogged this on M.T. Miles.
I love this post, Electra’s sense of humor, and writing style. I hope she gets bitten by the writer’s bug so we can experience more of her delightful creations.
What an engaging, thoughtful, and honest post! Your wife tells it like it is with a smile factor. As a woman, I can so see her side. As a writer, I can say that my husband lives where she is. I have a gazillion envelopes of junk mail with notes scribbled on them. No one touches or throws away any item from “the pile.” Stains and tears don’t count. The family has to get my attention before speaking to me. My internet history is scary, too. Searches for poisons, weapons, and unique ways to off characters is enough to give law enforcement pause before they ask where I hid the body. The phone in my office is turned off (we started getting phone calls at 3 am from a number in India) and it remains off. Silence while I write isn’t absolutely necessary (although appreciated) as I learned to write with small children wreaking havoc and crawling around my feet. My grandson knows that when I’m staring off into space, I’m writing on the typewriter in my head. He’s still trying to figure out how I got a typewriter in there.
Thanks for the brilliant comment and welcome! We’re still laughing at the image of your grandson wondering about the typewriter… 😀
Gayle’s daughter here, lol that’s my Mom for you!! My son will see her looking off and ask her if she is typing in her head 🙂 I have memories of trying to get her attention when I was a kid and repeatedly saying Mom, Mom, Mom, Moooooooooooooooom! And she would finally say WHAT?! I can truly appreciate Electra’s post and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Thanks for putting yet a wider smile on Electra’s face. 🙂
So it’s your boy that is trying to fit a typewriter on her head? I had to laugh when I read that one! 😀
Your blog on https://nightowlkitchen.wordpress.com is great, I love those recipes!
Aww, thank you so much! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes. 🙂 I have plenty of tales of my own to share about growing up with a writer, but I think my favorite is knowing that my Mom shares with me her plights and blunders she has with her characters and the research she discovers along the way, that yes would make any law enforcement question her about where the bodies are located. 🙂 Hope you both have a fabulous day!!
Ooh, do share! Any time you feel like a guest post, know that you’ve got a spot over here! 😀
You too! 🙂
Well thank you very much!
As this is such a delightful read, Electra, I suggest you get Nicholas to give over at least one day a week for a post from you. (I’m the one who’s just moved to Crete!)
That’s a great idea! I’ll try to talk her into it! 🙂
This is an outstanding post. Need any help, just ask for it. Your wife writes well. 🙂
Thanks! Any particular kind of help you had in mind?
I believe I meant you, of your wife.
Ah. Believe me, the poor thing is doing more than enough for me… 🙂 Thanks!
You’re a lucky man. 😮
Great post and great sense of humour too! 🙂 I can totally relate to the notebook habit and the vague look, among other things. My sister can get really frustrated when she knows I’m daydreaming in the middle of a conversation. I think it’s a bit of a writer’s habit but definitely not an excuse for me lol. I make up for it by helping her with writing though. 😀
Thanks and welcome! 🙂
Electra just asked me to take a chair to the basement. Naturally, I went on and did other things. When she said, “You forgot the chair!” I offered her my sweetest smile and said, “But you only asked me once!” 😀
Sad thing is, I didn’t do it to tease her, I had actually forgotten all about it, as I was daydreaming about my next chapter…
Haha, smart response to your wife. Glad I’m not alone in this writer affliction 🙂
Great post, wonderful read, and certainly very enlightening. Please thank Electra for sharing. How lucky you are to have a wife with a great sense of humor!
Thanks, I feel the same way 🙂
Electra, you are one in a million. I loved your post. 🙂
Such a sweet thing to say, thank you! 🙂
This cracked me up! I understand exactly where you’re coming from! Fortunately, I don’t have a partner to annoy, but I’m sure my mother would have related to this, back in the day (we always lived together). I have a good friend who isn’t into writing or computers, and when I try to talk to her, she just nods and grins, and I say, “You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?” and she says, “No!” Everytime I say “Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head” (the name of my hero) she nearly falls down laughing! I can’t see why it strikes her sd so funny! But I have to say, I don’t write to deadlines. I have to have mental room in order to write. That’s one reason I like self-publishing. And try replacing all those notebooks with a small hand-held tape recorder. I keep it by the bed.
Lol – I should try that, but I’m afraid I’ll just end up with stacks of tapes, with no idea where to find everything! 😀
“Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head” – I’ll have to remember that! 😀
I always transcribe the taped notes as soon as I can, into my Story Notes in the computer. Then I just tape over the original. But that doesn’t mean I remember to look at my notes!
Ah, so *that’s* how it works! 😀
Reblogged this on L. S. Gibson, author! and commented:
I’m the author in our family rather than the partner, but I well recognize the truth in this!
Thanks for the reblog! 🙂
Your wife is delightful – she may not want the rigors of blogging daily, but can certainly put her thoughts together quite nicely.
Thanks! Yes, I’m rather fond of her, and she can sure write them… 🙂
Oh dear… I recognised quite a bit of myself in that! Electra, your post was very entertaining, you should do it more often and give that poor author-husband of yours some time to write his books!
“Have you read Ali’s comment?” I asked her.
“I have,” she said and scrunched her nose. As she then stuck her tongue out at me, I don’t think you should be offended, though. 😀
Lol! It wasn’t meant seriously! I am a writer, but I’m a woman first… I’m on HER side!
Lol – of course you are! Don’t worry, she knows… 😀
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
Ever wonder what YOUR other half thinks about you being a writer / author, or even a (shudder) blogger? 😀
Hilarious, she’s a great writer, she should start a blog!
Thanks! I agree completely, but she laughed at the suggestion. She says one writer per family is more than enough. 🙁
In the interests of full disclosure, though, I must point out that she does help a lot with this blog. She comes up with a lot of the ideas for my posts, and even does the odd first draft every now and then.
it’s always the woman behind the man, isn’t it. The neck that turns the head.
I’ve always thought as much. And vice versa, of course. 🙂