Loree Lough

With nearly three million books sold, best-selling author Loree Lough’s titles have earned 4- and 5-star reviews and dozens of awards. Reviewers and readers alike call her “a gifted writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives.” Her 9/11 novel From Ashes to Honor (#1 in First Responders series, Abingdon) hits bookshelves to coordinate with the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. Loree lives near Baltimore and loves spending time at her teeny tiny cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she loves to show off her talent for correctly identifying critter tracks. Visit Loree at http://wwwloreelough.com.

There’s Absolutely, Positively Nothing Wrong with Pretending!

Last month, author Shirley Jump (Return to Riverbend series) asked her writer pals to comment on the subject of “writing in the absence of family support” for an article she was writing.

Whoa, thought I, what a topic! Examples stacked up in my brain to the point that I felt a little lopsided. But before I list them, let me first say that I love my family like crazy, and I know that they love me, too. We’ve “been there” for one another during crises and emergencies, but delivering casseroles, pinch-hit babysitting, and emergency trips to the ER are a whole different type of support.

Now, I’m the first to admit that The Ways Writers Are Unique and Different (and, some would say, weird) List is long and unwieldy. Somewhere at the top of that list is the money we earn isn’t predictable, like the salaries of family members with Real Jobs. Instead of getting into our cars and driving to work, we amble to some dark corner of the house where we hunch over our keyboards. This alone might leave nonwriters with the impression that what we do is more “hobby” than “work.”

And that, I believe, is at the root of this ugly thing called “lack of support.”

Something else I’ll readily admit is that, if asked, family members genuinely believe they are supportive of our writing. And why wouldn’t they? They say all the right things, after all: “Another contract? Bravo!” “Your book is going into its third printing? Wahoo!” “Will you autograph a book for my boss’s wife’s best friend’s mother-in-law’s cousin?” I hate to pull “dictionary” on ’em, but—lovely as those things are to hear—such commentary is positive reinforcement, not support.

Support is staying out of my office when you hear the click-clack of computer keys.

Support is realizing that saying “Is this a bad time to interrupt?” is an interruption. (When folks in most other lines of work are interrupted, the information they are working on will still be there, in the same order, in crisp black-and-white, when they return to their desks—unlike the perfect phrasing I was just about to type when you said “Is this a bad time to interrupt?”)

Support is taking me at my word when I say that plot development (and all its intricacies) isn’t anything like bookkeeping or lawyering or doctoring.

Support isn’t scheduling events that involve my participation without first checking to see if I have a book signing, radio or TV interview, or deadline that conflicts with your engagement.

Support isn’t getting elbow-deep into a household project, then realizing it’s a two-man job. (i.e “Uh, can you hold the end of this board for just a minute, please?”)

Support isn’t carrying the Visa bill into my office to find out “Is this a writer-type deduction?”

Support isn’t asking me to babysit—“It’ll only be for a few hours”—so that you can go to work.

Support isn’t following “Cool, a three-book series” with “I wish I was lucky enough to have a hobby that brings in a little money now and then” or “So, when are you gonna write a real book?”

It isn’t saying “What do you mean, you can’t make brownies for the church bake sale? It isn’t like you have a job or anything.”

Supporting the writer in your life isn’t difficult. All that’s required of you, really, is to live by The Golden Rule. Well that, and remembering that your writer supports you in your career.

And if you can’t do that, there’s absolutely, positively nothing wrong with pretending!


Maverick Heart