How Important is the Support of a Spouse/partner for a Writer?

Many years ago, I was watching a best-selling author being interviewed and she was asked if her husband read her books. She answered no, and proceeded to explain that he was very supportive and encouraging of her career, however, he had never read one of her novels. The interviewer seemed a bit puzzled; however, I think that in most cases, a spouse or significant other, even family and very close friends, do not jump into the reader’s pool right away, or ever.

This is something that for some writers is a sensitive topic, and they feel hurt when the people closest to them seem to disregard their books. It happens more than we might admit, in all fields/careers. Personally, I don’t think that if a close person has not read my books that it translates into not caring or a lack of support. Many times, people are not avid readers, or just don’t have enough time, or interest in the genre. If my work is treated with disdain or uninformed harsh criticism, (happened on one occasion, and by a person who I thought would be very happy for me) then, I view that as a different issue that is rooted in that person’s issues and not in my work. There is a distinction to be made.

As human beings, it is natural to expect the support and cheers of the people who matter most to us, and most likely, these are the same people who have supported us in many other ways throughout our entire life, so when something that is very dear and important to us doesn’t seem to have equal importance in their lives, we tend to feel hurt. Support comes in a variety of ways and people show their support differently. For example, my husband has not read any of my novels, but he has been very supportive in many ways, whether that is flashing a big smile when I publish a new book, economic support, giving away copies or promo cards to people he knows and I don’t, and many other ways. Do I mind that he has not read my books? Absolutely not. Having his support is having him on my team, and that is valuable to me.

For writers, sometimes just a caring or congratulatory word suffices; it shows that the person acknowledges their effort and is present, even if that person never reads one page.