“It’s never easy living with someone who can’t say anything nice about your work.” This is something I have heard from many of my writer friends. Maybe she’s come right out and told you that your exclusively second-person plural mystery novel sucks, or that no one really cares about “growing up Montessori.” Or perhaps he’s claimed that you should really ask “your writer friends” for feedback on your Who’s the Boss themed lyric essays, or that poetry about menses is just not HIS kind of writing. Either way, it’s clear your partner hates your writing and you’ll need to do something about it.
Here are your options:
1. Never read it out loud at home again and rescind the open invite to your public readings. Is one single sympathetic ear too much to ask in the terrifying world of writing and publication? Is it selfish of you to expect that unconditional love include your memoir? According to your boyfriend, when the writing’s as bad as yours? Yes. Yes it is. So please keep your creations and your creativity (exceptions noted) to yourself from now on, if you want to keep that otherwise “nice guy” around, that is.
2. Leave him or her. I know this sounds extreme, but isn’t your writing an extension of you? You labor over it, pour blood sweat and tears into it, give it your best, don’t you? Your writing IS totally the equivalent of a living breathing child, then. Look, if your girlfriend hated your son, you wouldn’t just say, “Well, I guess his dad will just have to keep him for the next million weekends,” would you?
3. Just write better. I mean, he reads, right? Dan Brown and James Patterson must be on to something, what with all their success. Can’t you just write something more interesting than that stack of strange “feminist” sonnets? Something with more explosions and sex scenes, perhaps? I mean, isn’t this supposed to be some sort of job or something—so wouldn’t you be making money at it if you were actually good?
4. Stop writing. Is she otherwise perfect? Like, a solid ten and a great cook? Wait, and your mother loves her? What’s more important to you: a happy mom and wife and the moderately stable 401k that will come with a “less weird” office job, or that crappy novel that you’ve been hammering away at for the last 4 years and still haven’t finished? Like she says: it’s just boring. So let it go already.