Saturday, July 30, 2011

When Family Doesn't Support Your Writing

If you can empathize with the title of this post, then you're not alone.  So many writers, myself included, can honestly say they have family members who don't support their writing.  Some may go so far as to tell you they don't even want to hear about what you're working on, what you've done, what your goals are.  That hurts.

But think about it this way, in some ways is writing any different that an other life decisions your family may not agree with?  I'm sure, if you're like me, you get very defensive when it comes to your writing.  In fact, I'm not going to deny that it places an iron wedge in the relationships.  After all, if your focus in life is your writing, and they ask so what have you been up to...what are you supposed to do lie, remain quiet, answer another way even though you're so excited about your current WIP you'd tell a stranger?  Ticking clocks are heard in the background while you decide.

And maybe it's not even the fact your family members don't believe in your writing, but they have concerns over the subject matter or where writing will lead you.  I have one sister who read my first novel, LIFE SENTENCE, and couldn't put it down, and now she won't read another one because she believes I'll be distracted by fame and fortune.  (I'm sure you're laughing now.  How many authors make it large enough to be wealthy and well known, anyhow?)

My parents who have been supportive in the sense of giving me a laser printer, and a binding machine (both awesome by the way), but otherwise don't really want to talk about my writing at all.  In fact, with most of my family the subject of writing is taboo.  They haven't even seen a copy of my published book because I didn't want to get into a fight about priorities.

It may even drive the wedge in further when, by contrast, others are so proud of your writing accomplishments.  I had a co-worker say to me, they may not be proud of you, but we most certainly are.  When I received my proof, they all wanted a look.  Many bought copies for themselves, for their family and friends.  I even have another co-worker promoting me everywhere he goes.  He's read my book TIES THAT BIND three times, and he even went so far as to tell me yesterday that if I even considered not writing anymore, he'd hurt me.  People who have read TIES THAT BIND are anxiously awaiting the next in the series.  I've been told to hurry up with it many times.

But, it's one of those things that get you thinking, shouldn't family be more supportive than people I don't know as much?

We could continue to sulk in that question, marinate in it, become embittered against family.  But, remember this, people are entitled to their opinions and beliefs.  In turn it's up to us how we react.  Is it fair that those close to us choose not to support us?  No.  And we might wonder why it feels we have to make compromises.

Here's my advice, you shouldn't have to be quiet about the fact you're a writer, that you're working on a book, that you're querying, that you're published.  In my opinion, these are things they have to accept.  I'm not suggesting a major confrontation (been there numerous times, not fun), but you're "allowed" to mention it.  If they choose not to pursue the topic of conversation, that's their choice.  But be proud of who you are!  Take pride in your writing!

Also, think of it this way, isn't it better that people who barely know you believe in your writing?  I think so!