Sharing Your Writer’s Life with Your Family

Mindy McHorse

If you ask my husband, Craig McHorse, about what it’s like living with a writer, which isn’t always easy, he would tell you that it’s been an incredible, crazy journey. But he’ll also tell you the same thing I mentioned in yesterday’s essay … that being a writer is about being true to yourself.

I didn’t know that at the beginning of my journey. You see, I was supposed to be a doctor. I took all the prerequisites in college, and would get excited when Craig got hurt playing sports because I got to be the one patching him up.

Can you imagine Craig’s surprise the day I came home and showed him a letter I received from AWAI about becoming a copywriter?

Craig has always supported me and this was no exception. But since he didn’t know many successful writers, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He pictured me as the female version of Chandler Bing on the Friends sitcom. Remember the episode where he quit his day job to be a writer and wound up just hanging around the house in grunge clothes?

A couple of years went by. I made next to nothing in income. I was happy but Craig often wondered if I should get a second job.

Then things began to happen. I started landing paid projects. Soon I had paid jobs lined up back to back. We used that money to pay off some debts. And my writing income kept growing.

That’s when Craig knew that I didn’t need to get a second job.

But here’s what Craig noticed that was just as important as the money: My confidence was growing day by day. In the beginning, the only person I talked with about my writing goals was my husband. But with each new project, I shared what I was doing with others.

Now we have friends and neighbors wanting to know what I do, and how they too can get started.

Besides the money and confidence, there’ve been other bonuses that living the writer’s life provides. For instance, I love the flexibility I have when it comes to volunteering at our kids’ schools. I also meet my husband for lunch a lot. And if one of our kids get sick, I am able to take care of them.

Something else my husband Craig would tell you too is that our outlook is different from the way other couples think. If friends of ours want to make a big purchase, they think in terms of how many years of savings it’ll cost them.

If we want to make a big purchase, all I have to do is put together a list of possible projects, suggest them to my clients, and when they say yes, make it happen.

Craig would tell you there are little drawbacks, for sure. Like when I add punctuation to his text messages. Or days when I am in deep on a big project and I send him demanding texts: Bring me pie! I need coffee!

Demands aside, Craig has watched me grow from timid and cautious to optimistic and resourceful. He says my confidence is reassuring. Sexy, even. (Can I say that? I hope I can say that.)

Craig is my biggest supporter. I hope you have someone in your life you can open up to about your own writing goals.

There’s one other thing I want to share with you that could help you start your writing career. At the start of each New Year, I sit down with Craig and outline everything I hope to accomplish.

It’s his job to reign in my list to something doable. The sky really is the limit when it comes to what you can do to make money as a writer. We’ve figured out over the years how to merge our family life and time constraints with my unlimited goals.

Here’s what I hope you’ll take away from my message: Pick someone supportive in your life and open up about your writing goals. Say it all out loud and listen to their feedback. Writing is part-career, part-identity, and sometimes it’s hard to separate the two. Sometimes outside perspective helps.

You can share comments or thoughts on this message below. Tomorrow I’ll share with you what I call “the truth” behind living the authentic writer’s life.

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Published: December 29, 2015

25 Responses to “Sharing Your Writer’s Life with Your Family”

  1. So true Mindy - and so well said :)

    Guest (Denise)

  2. Receiving support is half the battle. Early in 2015, I told my accountability partner (I no longer have an accountability partner)that I would pursue writing. AWAI was not known to me then. I spoke to my now defunct accountability partner maybe in September 2015 and we had a little catching up to do. When I told her that I was studying under AWAI, she had to remind me that this is what I said I was going to pursue. I had forgotten! Now this goal is ever consuming.

    Guest (Regine Baptiste)

  3. Greetings!


    Moments after I had replied to your email, I had called Capital One’s Customer Service 1-800-903-3637 number to see if my monthly payment was received; it was mailed Thursday, December 24, 2015, inside the post office to be expedited… to no avail.

    I circumspect, the delay was due to the Xmas holiday.

    In retrospect, if my payment doesn’t arrive by the end of this work day, which is at 6pm; I shall need a one day extension to comply with your recent offer.

    If not, I’ll understand… smiling!

    Avec Plaisir, Jewel

    Guest (Jewel Athena Jorge)

  4. Hi, Mindy,

    Thanks for this motivational article; I always enjoy reading your posts. However, in this sentence, "It's his job to reign in my list to something doable," I think you may have meant to write "rein," rather than "reign." Maybe it's not too late to correct this? Thanks again for sharing your writing insights.

    Gina Longo

  5. Hi-- I am interested, but I may have to have surgery and am facing other things so will keep with you but not now; I do want to and love to write.

    Thanks, and God bless, Elinor/ER

    Guest (Eli)

  6. rein in (as in whoa), not reign in. (as in Miss America's reign is for one year.)

    Guest (Lynne Linowski)

  7. One of the greatest Blessings, (or veesa-versa), in our lives, is that of having a worthwhile productive purpose, and knowing it. That restless inner urge that won't leave you alone until you scratch it, and scratch it until it smiles with the pride of your worthy accomplishment. Whatever that (positive) inner urge---seize it~! Why? Because to travel throughout life without a goal of purpose, is akin to sitting in the front seat of a car that has no motor. ...What say you?

    Guest (Marine 1)

  8. Hi Mindy, i want to talk more with you about copywriters career and first job. can you send me your email address so i can send you my doubts?

    Guest (sebastiao)

  9. Hi Mindy. This is great! Thankfully, I also have a special person that always encourages me towards my writer's life. Casey said from the beginning, "Hey, it's your turn, go get 'em!" But you know what? I tend to internalize these things. As things have started rolling now, I should be even MORE open and talkative about my writing goals. That outside perspective is important. Thanks!

    Les Worley

  10. Thank you Mindy for an excellent message! Not only is it great at the end of the year, but equally important to start the new year (every new year!). Greggory and I are married travel writing/photographer partners and we have always felt SO lucky and blessed to have each other to share goals, ideas, challenges and experiences with. AWAI has been such an integral part of our success and we are grateful to be a part of this creative global community.

    Guest (Alen and Greggory)

  11. My dad is truly my biggest supporter. Even though it's been all talk so far and I have only done free work, he never makes me feel like I can't do it or like it's stupid to try. I have been submitting alot of work and have a blog page that only I really see (except for other bloggers on wordpress), but I'm confident that something will happen for me soon if I just keep at it!

    Guest (Kim Smyth)

  12. Thanks Mindy, that's a very encouraging post.
    And your outlook on big purchases is very similar to the Lennon & McCartney "Let's write a swimming pool" credo.

    Simon James

  13. Hi Mindy, Thanks for the tip I became AWAI member since 11/18/2014.
    I involved in Barefoot Writer Club since 4/2015.
    I finished Money Making Website 9/2015.
    Until now I did not get any support from any AWAI member.
    I sent Nick , Rebecca, Katie, even you an email telling my new website , I need to get some feedback, but no reply whatsoever. It seems strange.Do you have an answer for it?
    Thanks jennie


  14. Thanks, Mindy, this really speaks to the experience I'm having in getting started in copywriting. I don't think I'm quite ready, but am working in that direction as quickly as possible.

    Guest (Diane)

  15. Lovely article, Mindy - thank you!

    Ilona C

  16. Mindy, I am certain this is not the type of response you expected, but one of the most interesting things I find about life, is the differing and varied responses/reactions we get/have to the same situation.
    What struck me most about your article was your relationship with your husband,a sure sign of excellent communication.
    As a widower who shared 52 wonderful years with my wife,I feel a deep sense of sorrow for the victims of unsuccessful marriages. They have no idea of the "happiness"opportunity they have missed.
    As a new member and aspiring copywriter at the of 77,I am finding the prospect rather intriguing and AWAI's guidance very helpful.
    I am a retired journalist who recently re-located from Jamaica.

    Keith Brown

  17. I love Mindy's insight and encouragement, as newbies, we are just trying on our new wings, getting our flying goggles to sit on our heads in the right manner and not slip off our noses before attempting what we'd consider to be an epic leap into the unpredictable unknown... Thanks again Mindy for holding our collective hand and gently leading us forward, towards a greater potential future with AWAI. Regards, Steve Mc

    Guest (Steve McNamara)

  18. This mail misspelled 'rein' as 'reign'. To reign is used as in 'a monarch's reign'.

    Guest (Wendy)

  19. Hi, I consider myself a very good writer, just not published yet.That is my dream in life, to write a wonderful story or series,like the Harry Potter series, that I fell in love with. So if writing a novel was my "dream" writing job, is there a place in copywriting for me?...Is copywriting kind of like a being in sales?...Thanks~Suma

    Guest (MSJ)

  20. Dear Mindy, Thank you for sharing your story. Could you be my mentor? I so much desire to be a successful paid writer and I have so much to share from my experiences and life so far. Let me know where to begin.
    Regards, Stephen

    Guest (stephen opanga)

  21. Hi Mindy.
    This time around, at this point anyway, will be very different for me. I lost Christine in 2010 and, because we have moved around such a lot, she was not only my wife, she was my anchor.
    I know what you mean about your partner reining you in as you make plans! Christine did the same for me.
    No doubt I'll find a support as I move forwards. This is an exciting time and I hope to develop friends as well as colleagues through the process.

    Mike Shepherd

  22. Hi Mindy - I've been subscribed to many AWAI programs for quite some time. I've slowly been working through them with a small measure of success. I have several articles on the drawing board, but not submitted. I lack the confidence to make that leap.

    This week I will write goals and share them with my husband. I've made some significant changes this year in my career and I expect 2016 to be very productive...including writing!

    Thanks for sharing.


  23. As 2015 wraps up, I have shared my writing goals with a few friends. They are encouraging me. This past fall, I have been exploring the business end of copywriting as well. I still think in terms of fogginess when it comes to speaking with marketers and negotiating what I can actually offer them being a new copywriter. My interest is B2B so as not to conflict with another professional area of my life. Moving forward with the business end safely, is a major goal at this time. Thanks! Jennifer

    Guest (Jennifer Cronin)

  24. thank you for sharing with us more of your story, .... ok my mind is stuck on the part where you sent your husband demanding texts like " bring me pie!" and " i need more coffee" i couldn't help but crack up at that part.

    at this point since i'm mainly writing for school and fanfiction/fanfiction reveiws i know i have a bit of ways to go in learning

    Guest (multyfangirl writer in texas)

  25. Sparing MORE "shares" for my loved ones to my writer's life, while making even MORE money, I sell indulgences. The more they pay, the more I'm available.

    And to the Martin Luther-like REFORMATION invoked by any who want to quash these ridiculous indulgences? I, in turn, duly spur a COUNTER REFORMATION whence the Michelangelo Mannerism and Bernini Baroque in me can only have more material on which my creations can aspire further.


    Guest (Chris Morris)

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