Ask Charlotte: No Support from Partners

“Hi Charlotte,

I’m an aspiring writer and have been thinking about quitting my job so that I have more time to spend creating my novel. The problem is that my girlfriend doesn’t take me seriously and thinks that quitting my job is a bad idea. She’s threatened to move out and take our daughter with her if I do. I understand why she’s worried, I know that not all writers make it big, but at the moment I work 60+ hours a week, most of them at night, and by the time I get the chance to sit down at the laptop, I’m too tired to think. I wish she was more supportive of me and my dreams. I didn’t hold her back when she wanted to go back to college and study nursing.  

Please help,

An. Author.”

Dear An.Author,

Firstly, I have to agree with your girlfriend – quitting your job just to become a full-time writer is a bad idea. The only writers who don’t work are either funded by their partners / families, or have names you’d recognise (JK Rowling, Stephen King, EL James etc.) I have a lot of friends who are published authors, and all of us have other jobs. Most of them are writing related – publishers, editors, journalists, but some of us have other careers as well. I work in a school, and I know security guards, teachers, and vets who all have their names on the spine of books.

You say you supported your girlfriend when she went back to college and that’s great – but let’s face it, a career in nursing is noble, and more likely to result in paid work. You also say you have a daughter. Quitting your job and forcing your girlfriend to support you both is not how to show her you love and respect her.

However, I don’t think you should give up on your dream either. Trust me, I know how hard it is to find the time to sit down and write when you’re working, but if you truly want to make it as an author, you’ll find the time. Keep a notebook so that you can jot down any ideas that pop into your head. As you quite rightly pointed out, not all writers make it. I know an awful lot of people who have written novels, short stories, and poems, and haven’t had a single thing published because they’ve ended up on the dreaded slush pile. It’s a very lucky person who appears from nowhere and gets their book published. You need to network and make contacts within the industry.

In my opinion, you both need to talk about options. Perhaps you can find a new job with less hours, or change so that you work 9am-5pm and have the evenings and weekends to write. But whatever you do, do not let your writing overtake your family. Writing should be an enjoyable outlet, not a family-destroying job. 

Join your local writers group. They can provide you with invaluable feedback on anything you have written, and support outside of the writing as well. You’ll meet like-minded people, who all have a variety of jobs and you’ll soon realise that you’re not alone.

I hope you realise your dream soon.



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