What Can You Do To Help Your Author?

The Shining

The Shining

I had goals before the storms hit.  Nothing major.  Write a chapter section or two.  Review an outline.  Hash out an idea or three.  Schedule some promos.  All within the realm of possibilities.  After all, a day of snow or a holiday doesn’t keep me home from work.  I shouldn’t be falling behind in my goals . . . Oh yeah, I don’t live alone.  There are other people here and disruptions in their schedules means a disruption in mine.

That’s the ‘danger’ of not having an office at home and still wanting to get work done.  You rely on others to stay out of your way and keep some things under control.  For example, one would expect another adult to entertain the kid after you request some time to check your email, respond to blog comments, or do a little work.  Some people don’t really let this happen and you find yourself writing tweets while tickling a laughing kid with your feet.  I’m sure other people have been in that kind of situation.

So, what can you do to help your author get work done on a day where the house is full?

  1. Realize that even though the weather or a holiday has given you a day off, a person who works from home doesn’t have this luxury.  Not even just for authors here.  They can’t say ‘my wife/husband has a day off’ and expect their own workload to understand.
  2. You can enjoy your sudden day off.  Just don’t plop down an itinerary of events as if the author is sitting there with nothing to do.
  3. If you see the author on their laptop, with pen to paper, or lost in thought, DO NOT INTERRUPT!  You can say ‘are you busy?’ or ‘do you have a second?’, but don’t push further than that.  An author in the zone will not be happy with a derailment and you might find yourself tossed into the blizzard for a few minutes . . . without boots.
  4. Leaving the author alone and being quiet does help.  This is the most precious gift you can give an artist of any kind.  Just don’t end the day going ‘I left you alone, see?’ as if you’re owed a cookie or went so far out of your way to accomplish something that is nothing more than the kind version of the silent treatment.
  5. If you’re not doing anything and the author is stressing about things, take some chores off their hands.  You might not realize that this stay-at-home person is working and maintaining the house.  This goes for stay-at-home parents in general.  An occasional easing of duties can say more than a gift or thank you.
  6. Don’t use an author’s notebooks, pens, pencils, and other supplies as if they’re communal.  A visiting relative can be forgiven for not realizing a notepad contains part of an outline, but you live with the author.  If you don’t recognize their tools then you’re in for a rough mood swing.
  7. Don’t break their lucky stapler.  I don’t care if it was an accident.  It’s why you can’t use it again.  Right up there with the one time I lent you my winter jacket and you broke the zipper thingy . . . moving on!
  8. If the author is on the phone with his/her editor after struggling to make the time, try to keep the noise down.  Besides getting work done, this is one of the few times they can talk shop with someone that is on a similar wavelength.  That can be easily disrupted by shouting up the stairs about a mystery water bottle or the barging in of a child.
  9. Never say ‘you care more about your writing than me’ to an author.  Surefire way to be proven right, start a screaming match, or push your own hobby into the spotlight.  Many times an author is carving out what little time they can and they aren’t ecstatic about missing out on family time.  It’d be no different than us going into an office for work and then coming home.  The less time we’re given to work, the less time we get to spend with family.  Same as any other job, but we’re still in the house and that makes it a lot more ‘painful’ for the author.  You think we really enjoy hearing the fun and making the decision to keep working?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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38 Responses to What Can You Do To Help Your Author?

  1. drcathy says:

    I know exactly how you feel, but my situation isn’t dependent on snow days. I live with a demanding 87 year old mother who wants what she wants when she wants it. And she really wants to just talk, no matter what I’m doing. If I tell her, “I’m working, Mom,” she gets offended and just sits on the couch, staring at nothing.

    Like

    • My family and I live with my parents, so I kind of get that. My dad is retired and the two of us trip over each other during the day. I think he’s still getting used to what I’m doing.

      I guess the plus side is that you’re there for her. That came to my mind when my mom got hurt and I was around to ease the pressure of getting things done around the house.

      Like

  2. suecoletta says:

    I love #5. I get, “I guess you weren’t paying attention,” pause, mumble, “too busy writing, as usual.” Sometimes I have to laugh. Of course I’m writing! That IS what I do!

    Like

  3. I just uncoil the concertina wire and set up the claymore mines in front of my door. I do have the courtesy of putting out a sign that says Achtung Minen. Good post.

    Like

  4. No, this post doesn’t bring back unpleasant memories at all… (shudder)

    Like

    • Sorry for that. Hope it’s distant memories and the present is much better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just meant that I used to deal with interruptions a lot, back when I shared a house with a non-writer. Having a non-writer in the house, especially a non-writer who strongly disapproved of writing and writers and everything having to do with science fiction, did make it rather difficult at times to get anything done.

        Now I share a house only with another writer (my twin) and several cats. The cats interrupt sometimes, but they’re cats — it’s what they do.

        Like

      • Wow. That’s really rough, especially the genre disapproval. I’ve dealt with people not understanding fantasy, but it never went further than that.

        I have 3 non-writers and a munchkin the house. So it does become a battle. Think the munchkin falls into the same ‘what he does’ like the cats. Funny how we give kids and pets a pass.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. paigeaddams says:

    Lol, this is amazing, and I love it! XD My favorite has to be #3.

    Like

  6. Unfortunately, everyone has to learn the hard way. It takes complete and utter shock at seeing their author turn into a GRIZZLY BEAR over something so “trivial.” 🙂

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    This is sound of advice for those who live with authors.. but try telling it to the cat and dog……

    Like

  8. davidprosser says:

    Great post Charles.

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on Today, You Will Write and commented:
    An intuitive approach…will stick on my door. Thanks Charles

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  10. L. Marie says:

    Great post, Charles!! I work at home, so I sometimes get a lot of texts from people who have the mindset that working at home means “I’m not really doing anything”–a false view. So, I tend to ignore those texts or phone calls until I’ve reached a stopping point in my work.

    One thing I did to help myself as an author was to get away to a retreat center. I badly needed a change of scenery. I’m soooooo glad I headed out of town!

    Like

  11. Informative post. I live with two cats and they don’t understand I’m busy and will not take NO for an answer. 😀 Their purring is calming.

    Like

  12. Excellent! Shared on FB, and will include in my reblog post next week. GREAT advice!

    Like

  13. Wow, I think I will just keep driving into the office…good luck with this one my friend. 🙂

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  14. It’s certainly a unique lifestyle we have as writers… and it’s tough to explain to non-writers! We don’t really get days off the same way as an office job might…

    Like

  15. Ellespeth says:

    I’d like to have a teeny tiny loft – a block or two from home.
    Ellespeth

    Like

  16. Pingback: Wednesday Reblog | Leigh Michaels

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