How to Love, Live, and Work Together 24/7

5 Comments 23 April 2012

Here's how two novelists work, live and play together happily. From Sara Luck, author of Claiming the HeartBy Sara Luck
Author of Claiming the Heart

Working together 24/7 can be put into context by citing every writer’s chestnut. Character, obstacle, goal—that is the essence of drama. We have two characters, my husband and me, both of us are novelists, and the goal is to have each of us complete our novels on deadline. But it’s the obstacles that make the drama, and being together all the time does create obstacles. We’re both writers, but with more and more people working from home, our situation applies to others as well.

The first obstacle to be overcome is the need for individual work space. My husband likes to write to classical music; I don’t like any distractions. So while we’re in the same house, we each have our own writing space. You also must have mutual respect for each other’s work, and it can’t have a dollar amount attached to it. If one spouse is more successful than the other, then in a family budget, the work of the more successful partner may take precedence. And if a sacrifice of time must be made, then that sacrifice should be made willingly. In promotional activities, for example, perhaps only one of us is needed for the actual event, but the other will go as well, to provide emotional support.

Running the household. If both husband and wife are working, and both are at home, then there should be an equitable division of labor. Start by deciding what household chores you might actually enjoy doing. My husband likes to cook, and is very good at it. He makes breakfast every morning, sometimes preparing a dish he learned to enjoy while he was in the army. It’s called SOS, and he says that means, “Special Old Sauce.” I have a feeling, though, that it means something else. I enjoy working in the garden or the yard. You can also trade off the more unpleasant tasks, one may decide they would rather wash dishes than do the laundry. What about handling finances? Taking care of the car? And if either becomes overwhelmed with their responsibility, the other takes up the slack. In a 24/7 work environment, there can be no imbalance.

We have a Jack Russell named Charley. When Charley makes demands, one of us will have to take him out. We tend to divide this task according to who is at a critical point in their work. If I’m trying to make a scene come alive, my husband will take Charley, and vice versa. All right, this isn’t really what you would call a chore. We live on the beach, and there is nothing more conducive to the muse than walking along the tide line, listening to the breakers crash ashore. So much so that walks on the beach are something we often do together, and it is at such times that we realize one of the true joys of togetherness.

And finally, think how lucky you are to be together, 24/7. This is the person you fell in love with, appreciate that fact, and show that appreciation. Think of it as an office romance “with benefits.”

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  • Therese

    What great tips! This makes me wish my husband worked from home, too. :)

  • kojala

    We agree! :)

  • tery fugate-wilcox

    from Tery Fugate-Wilcox, artist, of his marriage to Valer!e Monroe Shakespeare, his muse:
    Is there anyone out there who lived 24/7 with someone? We did for 48 years, I mean literally 24/7, every minute, (over 25 million). We married the 3rd day we met at 18 & the only thing that separated us was death. Valerie had a rare 9/11 cancer. We lived in Tribeca 1968-2004. we lost everything in 9/11. We never had anything to compromise because we were too excited facing the adventures life threw at us! No “rules” because nothing wrong between us was ever done. I know….it is hard to believe, but the difference between fact & fiction is that fiction must make sense. We considered life to important to be taken seriously.
    Hope to exchange stories with someone, tery

  • kojala

    Tery, your note was very moving. Thank you for writing us. We are very sorry for your loss. We encourage you to continue sharing your love story and wish you much health and happiness.

  • Marie

    Cool tips. I live and work with my partner in the graphic design industry for 9 years now, and every day is a new battle that we are happy to win! I’ve written an article about it:


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