Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How much do you need?

So here's the question. How much support do you need to follow your dreams? (Yes, that sounds cheesy, but stay with me here).

Listening to Debbie Macomber and Eloisa James, and talking to other writers at the conference recently, I was struck by the different levels of spousal support. Debbie told everyone at the Gala dinner that, back when she was starting out, a stay-at-home mom with a passel of kids, she was taking money out, and her hubby (Wayne, if I remember correctly) said she needed to put money back in, but when it came down to her dream, he said go for it. (Obviously, he's the hero!)

Eloisa James said that her hubby supported her career because they had too much debt, and they couldn't have another baby until they got rid of the debt. Books erased that debt and led to her daughter (an amazing story in and of itself).

On the conference loop, people discussed spousal support - someone said they were bringing their spouse, because the more he was involved, the better it was for the writing. Another poster replied that, the more her spouse was involved, the worse it was.

Now, my hubby is pretty right brained. He's all about buying technology - very involved in the new laser printer purchase, happy to debate the merits of usb ports, etc. for the computer. And he went with me to the conference, because he goes to a lot of conferences.

Backstory: I stayed home for 17 months after the toddler was born. Then I got a job as an editor, which I mostly love. But this winter, economic downturn and whatnot, my hours were cut. By 40%.

I'm using the time to write, but it's come down to money. If I want a patio before 2010, I need either another part time job, or a new full time job. Or to get a nice contract, which won't happen today or tomorrow, maybe not for months. I've had a few interviews, and I'm waiting to hear back about a possible full-time position. And I can't decide if it would be a good thing or if it would be terrible.

The hubby thinks that, if they offer me the position, I should take it. It's a rock-solid company, with great benefits. And he has a point. Good jobs in an economic downturn should not be lightly discounted.

But I think I finally figured out what I want to be. I love writing in my little office that looks out onto the magnolia. It's very Virginia Woolf-ish, but I have a room of my own, and I'm doing something I love. Is it a coincidence that I've lost almost 20 pounds since I started this? Perhaps I don't need the food as much to fill the soul. Writing about my people does that for me.

Some days, I feel like he doesn't support my writing. But I have to keep reminding myself that he does, in a pretty typical guy way. His support is measurable (bigger hard drives, bigger jump drives) and concrete (new laser printer!). Not so much touchy-feely, you-go-girl stuff. And I love that he keeps his finger on our financial pulse. I don't have to think about it because he does, and he does a damn fine job.

So my question is, what support do you need? What support do you get? Is the compromise enough?

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