Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Eight Don'ts for Men Whose Partners and Girlfriends are Writers

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1. When you get home early from work, don't go bouncing into her study while she is writing and ask if dinner is on. She's had a hard day creating wonderful prose - get the dinner on yourself.

2. Don't interrupt her if you see her sitting with a faraway look in her eyes and biting on her pencil, She has just had a mind-blowing insight about her central protagonist. Those amazing, wonderful insights can scuttle right into the darkest depths of the mind never to be recalled if they are interrupted at a sensitive juncture. Be warned. Shut your mouth and make yourself scarce.

3.Don't insist on reading her early drafts. Writers are sensitive about notes that are not yet edited and polished. She may want your advice - if she truly trusts you - and you should be honoured if this is the case. Otherwise wait until she offers.

4.Don't be cross if she creeps out of bed in the middle of the night to go fix something in her current novel which has to be done this very moment. She can't help it.

5.Don't think that what she writes is all about "her." She does not have murderous thoughts (that is providing she is not interrupted at the wrong time) nor is she a serial adulterer. Those notorious steamy sex scenes are not personal history. Writers, you see  are great observers of all of human nature and can empathise without personally experiencing what they write. She will still remain the warm and affectionate human being you fell in love with.

6.Never tell her that her hair is a mess while she is writing. Never, never, never.

7. Don't hold back on support. Presents of notebooks with attractive covers and good quality HB pencils will be well-received, and if you can, take a course in computer programming and problem-fixing so that when the wretched thing breaks down in the middle of a crucial chapter, you can repair it for her. She needs to concentrate on her writing, not worry about petty nerdy stuff. That's what you are for.

8. Don't spare the celebrations when she finishes her novel. Go to the book signing. Show her you think it's a magnificent achievement, which it is. Buy her champagne and flowers and chocolate. Especially chocolate. She will love you for it.


  1. All of this could apply to male writers, as well, although the part about not mentioning messy hair might not apply. My hair is always messy and I don't give a rat's right ear who comments on it.

    1. I know John. But this is my response to Blanche Ebbutt's Don'ts for Wives. Interesting point though, is that you couldn't change Blanche's Don'ts into the opposite gender because men and women had such different roles and were considered to be almost a separate species. I'm glad it's not like that now.