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You’re excited about your commitment to being a writer! And you’re willing to give some of your precious spare time for editing, submitting work, and maybe even taking classes or joining a writers group. But what if your family and friends aren’t supportive? Disagreements with the people who matter to you about the time you dedicate to writing can lead to writer’s block, self-doubt, and a general lack of overall happiness.
Writer’s Relief Reviews Reasons Why Family And Friends May Be Unsupportive Of Your Writing
Subject matter. Perhaps your interest is writing erotic ghost stories, or horror stories of unthinkable violence. Or maybe you’ve found a rich source of material in nonfiction stories about family vacations from your childhood. It’s not unusual for family members to feel squeamish about what a loved one might want to share with the public via creative writing—especially if they’re portrayed in an unflattering light.
Your focus is taken away from other obligations. Sometimes, family, friends, and significant others can become jealous of the time you spend writing. They might accuse you of shirking social, financial, emotional, and household obligations (and maybe you are).
There’s no guarantee of financial success. Writing isn’t necessarily an expensive hobby—until you start buying promotional materials, creating a Web presence, hosting contests, self-publishing, buying ad space, attending conferences, etc. Your family may have a legitimate concern about how much money you can actually make as a writer.
How To Handle Unsupportive Family, Friends, Spouses, Or Sweeties
Start by listening. Consider sitting down in a neutral place (or taking a nice walk through the park) and inviting your loved one to air all of his or her grievances. Don’t interrupt—just listen. Resist the urge to defend yourself. Let your loved ones feel heard. Thank them for sharing their feelings.
Acknowledge and accept other people’s rights to their own feelings. Unless the other people in your life believe you’re genuinely considering their position with respect and compassion, you’ll have little chance of keeping the peace. Spend some time meditating on their concerns until you can appreciate alternative POVs.
Go over complaints one by one, and focus on finding compromises and solutions. Attempt to find the middle ground. Offer specific, practical solutions. You might not like your loved one’s initial reaction, but give it time for your suggestion to sink in. Ask for a willingness to experiment—if your suggestions don’t work, you can try something different.
Consider whether complaints about your writing are symptoms of a deeper, underlying problem. Sometimes, complaints about writing aren’t about writing at all. Instead, statements like “You’re spending too much time writing” mask another problem: “We don’t spend enough quality time together anymore.” Unfortunately, these deeper problems can be more difficult to admit. Try journaling—and ask your loved ones to do the same, if they’re amenable—to discover what might be fueling the disagreements over your writing.
Find a mediator. A skilled therapist may be necessary to reach a compromise and to unearth sneaky underlying problems.
Remember: When You’re Feeling Alone, Reach Out To Other Writers
Writers understand writer problems. And there are organizations all over the country that offer supportive environments where writers can explore their craft, learn about their industry, and vent their frustrations about the writing life. Making friends with other writers can improve many aspects of your career and your life. Find a list of national writing organizations here. Or, visit our Writers Classifieds for a list of writing conferences near you.
Question: Have you ever faced the challenge of unsupportive family members? What did you do? Please share your story in our comments section (so that other writers can benefit from your experiences!).