Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem. I've been writing most of my entire life...professionally for the last twenty years. I never made it big and probably never will. But I was one of those kids who had those teachers who said: "You need to be a writer because you write such great stories" so I followed that dream and continued to write novels, short stories, and practically anything that required pen, paper, pencil or computer. 14 novels later, I'm still going strong.

But when it comes to family, I still get that infamous: "When are you going to stop writing and do something with your life?"

I'm in my 40s. Chances are pretty good that I'm not going to become a fireman any time soon. Or a doctor. Or something else. I work a full time job to pay for my writing life. But people don't get that.

They see my novels as "cute distractions" that eventually I'll grow out of.

Anyone else have this sort of problem? Aside from the usual "just plow through it", how do you tend to deal with it? Granted, success would be an easy answer and solution, but it's been 20 years. Not sure that's meant to happen.
 
G

·
Well, I know what you want to hear is "ignore the haters and live the dream." But that would be trite, and not really resolve your problem. Issuing a bunch of fluffy bunny platitudes won't help you with your family.

IF you are gainfully employed and financially secure, I can't understand why your family would give two-cents about your writing. Don't these people have hobbies? Don't they have entertainment or crafts that they enjoy? Nobody is a gardener or works on model airplanes or does anything for the sheer joy of doing it?

You have to identify the ROOT CAUSE for their complaining. I'm in my 40's and I write roleplaying games for the love of god  :eek: ;). I don't make full time money, but my parents don't worry that I'm "in a phase" or "will grow out of it." I've been writing since I was 13 and they are supportive of me writing games.

And again, you are in your 40's. Calling anything you do a "cute distraction" indicates a far deeper problem than your writing. You have a bigger problem than your writing. Your family thinks you are still an irresponsible child. My thought is that they 'attack' your writing to avoid attacking the real problems. So you need to figure out WHY they think you are a child so you can confront that. Otherwise you end up fighting the wrong fight with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,911 Posts
I don't get that so much as just a total lack of interest from my family.  None of them have read any of my books, despite the fact that I've given them all copies for Christmas (my family only gives hand-made presents for Christmas...what could be more hand-made than a self-published book?)  There is just zero interest there, zero caring.  I have no doubt they would all have read each book by now if they were traditionally published.  And then my family has the nerve to berate me for "being down on myself" when this horrible schism in my self-image gets out of control and I get depressed over the fact that I don't have the enormous advances that some of my friends have from publishers, or I don't have the ability to write full-time like some of my friends who have been picked up by publishers.  NO KIDDING I'M DOWN ON MYSELF.  NONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO LOVE ME THINK WHAT I'M DOING MATTERS.  AT ALL.  EVEN TO MYSELF.

Family can be real bastards sometimes.  Guess what?  I'm not thanking any of them in the acknowledgments to any future books.  They can suck it.  And then when I finally get Hugh Howey huge they're going to all be indignant that I didn't kiss their butts enough inside my books.  Well, you reap what you sow, jerks.  Now I'm heading out to my vacation home in the Tetons to write another brilliant book.  Smell you later.  (<--my favorite fantasy, in case you couldn't tell.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Well, I know what you want to hear is "ignore the haters and live the dream." But that would be trite, and not really resolve your problem. Issuing a bunch of fluffy bunny platitudes won't help you with your family.

IF you are gainfully employed and financially secure, I can't understand why your family would give two-cents about your writing. Don't these people have hobbies? Don't they have entertainment or crafts that they enjoy? Nobody is a gardener or works on model airplanes or does anything for the sheer joy of doing it?

You have to identify the ROOT CAUSE for their complaining. I'm in my 40's and I write roleplaying games for the love of god :eek: ;). I don't make full time money, but my parents don't worry that I'm "in a phase" or "will grow out of it." I've been writing since I was 13 and they are supportive of me writing games.

And again, you are in your 40's. Calling anything you do a "cute distraction" indicates a far deeper problem than your writing. You have a bigger problem than your writing. Your family thinks you are still an irresponsible child. My thought is that they 'attack' your writing to avoid attacking the real problems. So you need to figure out WHY they think you are a child so you can confront that. Otherwise you end up fighting the wrong fight with them.
Well,to be honest, I don't think it's just my writing that they look down upon. I'm also an adjunct professor at the local community college, which they treat as not really being a professor because it's not full time. I work in health care as a computer analyst, which pays well, but even though I've been doing it for four years now, they still see it as a temporary job I'll end up dropping to do something else. I'm a lot like Jack London in that I keep seeking new adventures and then using those to write upon. Stability has never really been my thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ElHawk said:
I don't get that so much as just a total lack of interest from my family. None of them have read any of my books, despite the fact that I've given them all copies for Christmas (my family only gives hand-made presents for Christmas...what could be more hand-made than a self-published book?) There is just zero interest there, zero caring. I have no doubt they would all have read each book by now if they were traditionally published. And then my family has the nerve to berate me for "being down on myself" when this horrible schism in my self-image gets out of control and I get depressed over the fact that I don't have the enormous advances that some of my friends have from publishers, or I don't have the ability to write full-time like some of my friends who have been picked up by publishers. NO KIDDING I'M DOWN ON MYSELF. NONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO LOVE ME THINK WHAT I'M DOING MATTERS. AT ALL. EVEN TO MYSELF.

Family can be real bastards sometimes. Guess what? I'm not thanking any of them in the acknowledgments to any future books. They can suck it. And then when I finally get Hugh Howey huge they're going to all be indignant that I didn't kiss their butts enough inside my books. Well, you reap what you sow, jerks. Now I'm heading out to my vacation home in the Tetons to write another brilliant book. Smell you later. (<--my favorite fantasy, in case you couldn't tell.)
I have the same problem. I gave a couple of my books to my family to read (two were published by legacy publishers and the rest have all been self published), and like your situation, they never read them. They've never really acknowledged my books other than with long silences when I talk about them and then they ask me about something else, like "when are you going to find someone and get married?"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,262 Posts
I've had a steady job longer than anyone in my family ever had, I've made more money than any of them has, I've been happily married to the same women for 23 years and raised two girls who are successful on their own now, and I'm still considered the flaky baby of the family, because that's the way it's always been, and because I don't take anything seriously. Thing is, I DO take writing seriously, but I can't let them know that, because I don't want to put them through the pain of watching me fail at something that means so much to me. I'll let them know if by some miracle I achieve some level of success, but if I fail, I'll pretend it was just another flighty thing I got into to kill time (and there have been plenty of those). And, no, it's not to protect my own ego. It would DEVASTATE them if they knew how much it meant to me and I failed. So, I actually appreciate being seen in somewhat the same light as you think you're seen. To each his own, eh?
 
G

·
sarbonn said:
Well,to be honest, I don't think it's just my writing that they look down upon. I'm also an adjunct professor at the local community college, which they treat as not really being a professor because it's not full time. I work in health care as a computer analyst, which pays well, but even though I've been doing it for four years now, they still see it as a temporary job I'll end up dropping to do something else. I'm a lot like Jack London in that I keep seeking new adventures and then using those to write upon. Stability has never really been my thing.
So the issue is less about your writing and more generational. I suspect your parents are like mine. They come from a generation where you worked at the same job for 20 years and retired with a pension. My suggestion would be to not let conversations focus on HOW you earn your money, but what you do with it. Their concern is primarily about stability. This may sound silly, but do you have a retirement plan? 401K? IRA? You may be better off focusing on how, even though you (like most people) don't plan on staying at the same job for 20 years, are stable.

I have a male cousin who use to like to poke fun at me because "you went to college to be a receptionist." I'm an executive admin for a major corporation, but it doesn't do a whole lot of good to argue the point. There is a whole lot of misogyny and disdain for education in a certain portion of the family, and we'll leave it at that.

Last time I saw him, he was complaining about his medical bills. "You don't have an HSA?" I asked, pretending to be confused. And then "casually" threw out the fact that I had over $10,000 in mine. Then later, within earshot of him, told my mom that I was thinking of cashing out my employee stock options to pay off Mike's car, "But I might wait until the stock hits $100 a share."

But I'm passive-aggressive that way and like to rub things in. You obviously need not be as snarky as I am, but it would probably do you well to discuss your successes with your family instead of allowing them to control the conversation and focus on the fact that your career path doesn't suit their ideology. And there is something to be said for smug satisfaction. 8)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
951 Posts
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
You have to identify the ROOT CAUSE for their complaining. I'm in my 40's and I write roleplaying games for the love of god :eek: ;). I don't make full time money, but my parents don't worry that I'm "in a phase" or "will grow out of it." I've been writing since I was 13 and they are supportive of me writing games.
My family still rolls their eyes when I talk about writing roleplaying games. I'm always hesitant to ask them when their hobby is going to make them more than the equivalent of a month salary a year.
 
G

·
tensen said:
My family still rolls their eyes when I talk about writing roleplaying games. I'm always hesitant to ask them when their hobby is going to make them more than the equivalent of a month salary a year.
My parents were weird about the RPG thing at first, but have grown supportive of it (because I do make money doing it). In fact, when I first told them about the New Orleans project, my mom got very excited and when they went to NOLA on vacation a few months later brought me back all sorts of street maps and brochures for my research. ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
530 Posts
Your books and descriptions look crisp and professional. I have one question, "where are your reviews?"

With as much work as you have put in, a healthy dose of reviews could boost your sales substantially.

Oh and I've given up telling my family (including my wife) when I'm writing a novel, when I've finished a novel or anything pertaining to indie publishing. They don't get it and never will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
markobeezy said:
Your books and descriptions look crisp and professional. I have one question, "where are your reviews?"

With as much work as you have put in, a healthy dose of reviews could boost your sales substantially.

Oh and I've given up telling my family (including my wife) when I'm writing a novel, when I've finished a novel or anything pertaining to indie publishing. They don't get it and never will.
That's been one of my biggest problems. People read my books but no one ever reviews them. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but it's like no one reviews my books. Every now and then someone will contact me by email and say they loved one of my books, and I'll say, please review it, and they still don't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
sarbonn said:
That's been one of every indie author's biggest problems.
Fix'd :p

I sympathise. Although I don't write full-time and have a regular 9-5 to pay the bills, the majority of my family treats my writing either with mild disinterest or moderate disdain: "What, you're spending xyz on editing? But your house needs redecorating!"
 
G

·
I know the feeling.  My family is actually quite supportive (or tries to be), but I can tell that my parents get worried, and my sisters probably talk about me behind my back.  Then there's everyone else in this country (USA), who tends to treat "writer" as another term for "unemployed."

Here's what I tell them: I'm a self-employed small business owner who creates and develops intellectual properties across a variety of print and electronic media.  I'm a freelancer, a businessman, the owner and sole proprietor of an independent publishing outfit, etc etc.  When you learn how to speak the language of business professionals, it really makes a difference how much respect people give you.

And to be fair, writing is not the only profession that struggles for respect.  In fact, I think it's the norm for people to go "huh?" when they hear about a specific career or job path.  Unless you're an accountant, a career that everyone for some reason is agrees is stable, respectable, and professional (at least here in Utah), some people will always raise their eyebrows when they hear what you do.  The key is to learn how to explain it to them in a way that earns the respect you want to receive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,104 Posts
sarbonn said:
Well,to be honest, I don't think it's just my writing that they look down upon. I'm also an adjunct professor at the local community college, which they treat as not really being a professor because it's not full time. I work in health care as a computer analyst, which pays well, but even though I've been doing it for four years now, they still see it as a temporary job I'll end up dropping to do something else. I'm a lot like Jack London in that I keep seeking new adventures and then using those to write upon. Stability has never really been my thing.
Answer, "I thought you knew...I'm an author..." then give them a quizzical look (as if they're coming down with Alzheimers) and walk away.

You'll feel better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
I am lucky to have a family that understands.  One sister and my fiancee are both artists so they understand why I do what I do and my mother has always been very supportive.  I do work at a decent paying job but when my fiancee asked me,  "What do you want to do if you can not write for living?" I had no answer.  This is what I want to do with my life.  I do not need to get rich, but if I can pay the bills and have a few bucks extra, that would be enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,947 Posts
My family started out finding me writing to be humorous. A few probably still do, but their attitude was better once I actually published. My husband, sister, mother-in-law and one son-in-law have read my book and have made positive comments. I'm not sure anyone else has read it, maybe not even my adult daughters. Perhaps my writing makes them a little nervous, considering my first full-length book was a memoir. (I've never published that one though, and I have assured them my novel is pure fiction.) A handful of friends tell me they've read it, but I have no way of knowing for sure if they really did. The common thread among them is the belief I write to fill my time since I retired from my real estate career. They don't understand that's not the reason I write. I now have time to devote to a life-long desire to which I could seldom devote much time over the years. The second in the series will publish this summer and the third by the end of the year. I suspect most will still consider it a past-time for me. It doesn't matter. I know otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
I think my family are mostly just happy I'm making some money for now. Having said that, writing has been my first proper "job" since university. I'm hoping I can turn my minimum-wage earnings into something more substantial before the "when're you going to get a real job" comments kick in. ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
sarbonn said:
That's been one of my biggest problems. People read my books but no one ever reviews them. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but it's like no one reviews my books. Every now and then someone will contact me by email and say they loved one of my books, and I'll say, please review it, and they still don't.
I can help on this one maybe. I run a review group on goodreads that helps authors exchange non-reciprocal reviews. Check it out and if the rules seem fair and it seems like something worth investing time in for you feel free to join :)
Here's the link: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/85914-the-reviews-initiative-for-indie-books
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
I'm the youngest of 7 children and my siblings treat me as such some times.  However, I'm happy to say they're all impressed by the fact that I write books.  One of my sisters is actually a big fan and now beta-reads for me.  The first time she read one, she gave me a call and said, "I didn't realize you meant you were a real writer!"

Still one of my favorite compliments of all time. :)
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top