Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 8 April 2013

Marriage and Artistic Drive

Last week, I asked for some topics for the blog, just to speed things up a bit, so I didn’t have to think of blog topics and write them.

I thought I’d get lots of questions about writing, lots of practical things, maybe about how to get started, or even how to get finished. I thought I might be asked to talk about how to get published, or how to get an agent, or maybe how I went about entering the Mselxia competition, which I’ve talked about quite a lot over the past year, not least since doing so well in it was the springboard for writing the blog in the first place.

What I didn’t expect was for people to be so interested in personal things.

I’m not suggesting you’re a nosey lot, although, clearly you are... And, to be fair, I am too, and lots of story tellers will tell you that a big nose is a necessary tool of the trade. I suppose I’m just saying that I never thought I was all that interesting. It’s sort of nice in a way that some of you clearly think that I am, or at least that some of the things I have to say are interesting.

Today’s blog subject comes from Noah Smith, @NoahJAS, who says, “Just thought I’d suggest another blog topic: how has marriage changed/shaped your artistic drive, or has it? Cheers!”


I’m sure that pretty well everyone knows who the husband is, by now, but if you don’t know who he is you can always check out his Wikipedia page, some of which is accurate. I’m also confident that you all know the husband and I met when we were still in our teens. We celebrated thirty years of knowing each other last year. We wrote together way back when, putting together gaming scenarios. We even submitted stuff to White Dwarf magazine, if memory serves.

We have a long, if broken, history of being together, playing together, studying together and working together, and all that those things entail.

Perhaps the thing we did best and most effectively together was raise our children, who are grown women, now, with amazing lives of their own making.

How has marriage changed and shaped my artistic drive?

Well, the husband and I have only been married for nine years, so the formalities haven’t actually changed anything very much. Being together, and being committed to the relationship is what matters, but I’m sure that’s what you mean. Marriage is a state of mind. Having someone in my corner who understands what I do and why I do it is absolutely key to being able to keep going. I think that’s particularly true for someone who has taken as much rejection as I have, and who is married to someone as successful as the husband. He’s incredibly supportive. He understands when I become demoralised, and he’s even admitted that he probably wouldn’t have kept writing if he’d been turned down as regularly as I have.

He’s incredibly practical too. He’s the first person to tell me to get my arse in my chair and get the words on the page and stop agonising, and that might sound cold, but it’s what a girl needs sometimes. 

For any writer, for any creator of any kind, I suppose, everything can shape and everything can change artistic drive.

Having kids changed things dramatically for me, in so far as all of my energy, creative and otherwise was poured into growing my children, and I wrote almost nothing for the better part of a decade. I did other work. I edited a lot and did research, but I simply didn’t have the energy that I needed to write. When I write everything else has to take a back seat, and I didn’t want my children to take a back seat, so I didn’t write.

The husband’s personality is a driver, his energy is a driver, and his attitude towards me is a driver. I think the fact that he believes I can achieve anything still allows me to take risks that I’d find it difficult to take if I didn’t have his support. I think the fact that he’s a pragmatist helps enormously when I’m at the bottom of my bi-polar cycle, and I’m lonely and afraid, and, somehow, the way that he is means there’s still space for me to open a file on my laptop and get some words on the page.

It’s not marriage, so much as the man I married that shaped me. I guess it should be like that for everyone. I’m happy it’s like that for me.

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