Q: How do pets/children/significant others help/hinder your process?
A: I keep the part of me that’s a writer a bit secluded from my family and friends, and they don’t really hear from that part unless I have a piece that’s done and ready to be torn apart by the real world. By then I’ve built some armor around the work and can take any comments they might have, good or bad. If I let people whose opinions I highly value see a piece before it’s ready, I wouldn’t be able to take any of their criticism, no matter how constructive. Strangers’ comments, however, I can take all day long and feel very little personal affiliation and see the room for improvement their negative feedback can bring. I think this comes from my journalism degree, because I didn’t have a choice as an undergrad but to let strangers eat up my words and spit them out again. I personally found that my journalism instructors were tougher than the creative writing teachers I worked under for my minor, but they all made me a better writer in the end.
The only thing that might hinder the creative writer in me is my day job, which I love, but it’s hard to sit down in the evening to write and mentally switch from the kind of writing I do for work to the kind of writing I do for me.
But my cat generally lets me work in peace, because if I’m writing it means I’m not forcing her to cuddle with me. She, similar to lots of great writers, needs her space.