Writing’s Strain on Family — Steven Capps


In some ways I think that writing is a drug. I don’t mean that writing is going to get you tweaked and make you clean your house. (Though I know I’ve done several loads of dishes as part of my pre-writing ritual.) I’m not trying to say that writing is like craving for chocolate. Despite these statements,  writing does give me a rush, and if I don’t write my mood sours. Beyond both of these elements, I think that writing is most like a drug because of the strain it puts on one’s family.


I am not currently at the point where I can make a living off of writing, but this doesn’t make me want to stop writing any less. How am I ever going to achieve my dream if I do not work at it now? My family does not see it this way, and I can understand their point of view. My girlfriend works at night as an RN, so during the day she sleeps. When she has a day off, she will often want to watch Netflix or just kind of hang out.

Since I’ve been watching our son all day, I gladly welcome a few episodes of Stranger Things.  Eventually, the guilt I feel about not typing sets in and I excuse myself up to my desk. Almost every time this starts an argument. She feels that I would rather write than spend time with her. I make some bull shit excuse about the few hours we were hanging out. She gets upset and finally tells me to go write.

Even if I do it, instead of getting lost in the story, I just fume over our argument. Part of me knows she is right, and I feel guilty. Part of me is frustrated that she isn’t supporting me. After taking twenty minutes to write a single sentence, I’ll go downstairs and start round-two.

“I think it’s bullshit that I you say you want me to be a writer, but never want me to write.” She’ll huff and mumble about how she doesn’t want to talk about it or something like that. Since I am all ready worked up I usually won’t let it go.

“Seriously,” I’ll say. “How many hours did you spend on clinicals during nursing school? How is writing at night any different from that?”

“Because, I could actually get a job,” She’ll finally snap. “I don’t want you to stop writing, but I think you are obsessed. You’re sacrificing our relationship on the chance that one day it will all pay off.”

I’ll be quiet for moment. It is not because I am angry, but because I have thought the same thing myself. Writing isn’t the same as going to nursing school. There is no definitive light at the end of the tunnel. Just like with drugs it seems like a never-ending loop. The cost of pursuing this dream is not measured in time word counts, and caffeine. It takes a toll on those around you. Even if I wanted to stop, I don’t think I could. The thought of never writing again is like thinking about a parent dying.

We’ve talked about it, and I am sure there will be more arguments in the future. For now I’ll continue typing though I will try to do it while she is asleep or at work. Maybe her mindset will change when she can see the results that I strive for.

via Writing’s Strain on Family — Steven Capps


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