Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Do Your Friends and Family Think of Your Writing Habit?

Writing is a solitary pursuit. It takes silence, concentration, patience, and provides a ready excuse to escape any awkward family gathering.

It also takes the forbearance of your friends and family as you toil away on the page or laptop and anguish over rejection letters and bad reviews.

What do they think about it?






205 comments:

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Windsong said...

I'm lucky. My husband and kids support me 100%. Not only do they give me good, uninterrupted writing time, they also believe in my abilities as a writer.

Taylor K. said...

My family runs the gamut from "You're a good writer because I was one first," to the "writer's are a waste of space" variety. I'm lucky to have a few family members who are genuinely interested in what I do, but must have the "that's nice, dear" opinion. I question how many think I'm wasting my life trying to pursue this writing thing, and how many of mine or wife's relatives complain about it, but none of them do it to my face so I'll just hope they don't.

Anonymous said...

My friends and family are very supportive. I was just telling my friends the other day that the book I am writing is my love interest at the moment. With that...who needs a date? :-) Okay, so I am a little obsessed.

Carley said...

Good question. My family loves it, they are my biggest(completely prejudiced) fans and best support. My hubby, who is a certifited anti-reader type, was and is surprisingly wonderful. He bought me a laptop to write on and is always there with his very grounded advice. My dearest friends are the same, not so close ones say, with eye brow raised, 'oh how nice.'

Besides, being branded as the 'artsy' type does give one the luxury of odd behavior and mood swings, if you choose, (I don't of course!) with out having to explain them. ;) But, most importantly, the further I delve into this, the less I really care about what everyone else thinks. As my brilliant husband pointed out long ago, 'it makes you happy to write, so write; and to h#@! with what anyone else thinks.'

Rick Daley said...

My family and friends have all been very supportive. I do most of my writing in the early morning, so I don't infringe on my time with my wife and kids.

I share feedback I receive with my wife, she's a great sounding board. To date, even the harshest criticism garnished has been constructive and I have been able to learn from it. I'm optimistic and I believe in my work, and my family does too.

My seven year old son sees me writing, and he tries to write, too. It's fun, I'll guide him along, but he does the writing. I tell him to start with a character. Is it a person or an animal? Boy or girl? What does that character want to do? It's a great exercise for both of us.

Kiersten said...

My friends are great. A little too great. If I get asked how submission is going and what the time frame is on something like that one more time...

My hubby gets a little sad when I disappear into Word night after night, though. It was nice getting an agent, because I felt like it legitimized my time spent a bit.

Brian Crawford said...

They're all supportive. Don't apologize for doing what you love, and project confidence in your abilities, even when you don't feel it -- and your friends and family will take you seriously.

Ken Coffman said...

I interviewed my wifey a few years ago and it went something like this:

Ken: It must be exciting to be married to a soon-to-be-famous writer...
Wifey: No, not so much. I keep myself busy while he's buried in the basement writing.

Anonymous said...

The only person who was the least bit supportive of my most recent endeavors was my little sister. That is, until I actually finished writing a novel and then they all hope that I'll make millions and let them all retire.

I've noticed that most people have no idea how to respond when you tell them that you write.

Side note about yesterday's post: my friend went to some scheming seminar and was told that writing a book is THE BEST way to make money without effort so he was very encouraging. I laughed and explained to him that some people lie for a living.

jmh said...

friends wonder if you'll ever actually finish your epic.

family members are all afraid that they're in it.

7-iron said...

I'm an MFA student, so I tense up during each wedding and holiday season when extended family is likely to ask, "What do you do?"

Inevitably they ask what I'm writing, and when I tell them my thesis is a novel they either laugh or ask what it's about. Equally painful.

Day to day, my immediate family is supportive. Some days I love my work, some days I hate everything I write. Some days I think I really should have gone back to school for an MBA.

Hilabeans said...

"a ready excuse to escape any awkward family gathering" ...that's a good tip. I learn something new every time I come here.

Actually, my family and friends are supportive and hooked on my story which is an added benefit. Readership is up. ;) But in the beginning, when I declared that I was writing a book, I received a few blank stares and sympathetic looks almost as if they were thinking, "Poor thing, she's living in fantasyland." I liken, “I’m writing a book,” to saying, “I’m giving up everything to be an actor.” Yeah, doesn’t go over well.

It was my entrance into a professional writers group that really helped me the most. Also, finishing 94,000 words in two months built some credibility.

The rejection letter stuff, well, it sucks, but with my friends, family, and fellow writers behind me, I am confident that I’ll pull through. Of course, having you as an agent would be awesome, so you can be sure that I’ll query again.

Flemmily said...

My family bought me a "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel" sweatshirt a while back.

I make sure to wear it in front of them often enough to give them fair warning. :)

In other words, they're fully supportive and wonderful, but definitely biased, so not the best critique group in the world. But, they even came along to SCBWI NYC early this month, and that was QUITE the gift.

Michelle Moran said...

I've been extremely fortunate to have friends and family who have always supported my writing, even pre-publication days. If my theoretical kids ever wanted to become writers, I would be just as supportive, as long as they understood the odds/time invested/immense hard work involved.

Vieva said...

My husband likes to refer to me as his retirement plan. He supports me now - I'm going to be paying the bills later.

Little pressure, but I'm glad he believes in me! And is willing to give me the time and space I need to try and create.

My friends - well, I don't HAVE friends that aren't supportive of my writing. And everyone knows it's what I do. And most of my friends think I've got great talent and want me to write more. And send it to them. And write more. Etc. :) (anyone that says that kind of flattery is bad doesn't know what they're talking about!)

All in all, I couldn't have a more supportive environment. Now I just hope I can live up to it!

Dara said...

My parents supported me ever since I started coming up with stories to write. My mom would even help me transcribe them before I even learned how to read and write.

My sister has also been one of my greatest places for support since she is also a writer. While we write in two different genres (she is more sci-fi/fantasy and I'm almost strictly historical fiction) we're always messaging one another to ask for opinions on our ideas or when we need some input on a certain scene.

My husband is incredibly supportive, often being the catalyst to help get me going when I try to find excuses. He's also the one who really pushed for me to first try NaNo as well as joining a critique group. Everyday he asks "Is your book finished yet?"

I also have a great critique group--they've been key to helping me fine tune my craft and encouraging me to keep going with the story.

I've been incredibly blessed :)

Kaytie M. Lee said...

My friends and family think it's the perfect vocation for my antisocial self.

Dr. Laurie said...

My husband and four kids are a great support team! Whenever there's a tragedy broadcast on TV, they turn to me with "See! That's why your stuff needs to be out there!" They're great at helping me remember that I write to offer comfort to heartbroken folks, and that's worth whatever discomfort I face in the business.

Marilyn Peake said...

My family and friends have been very supportive. I try to juggle my writing time with social time, but it is very tough, trying to be inspired to write at the exact moment the clock says it's my scheduled time to write. It's also tough to stop writing when the words are flowing and it's time to do something else. Actually, I'm in the middle of writing right now and am on a roll, so I should get back to it. :)

Scotty said...

I get lots of support from those close to me. There are others who can't understand sitting down to read a book let alone write one, and they tend to be possessive of my time. I've always been away in the lab working on some artistic endeavor or another, so for those who really know me, it's not a real problem if I go "missing".

What can be a problem is people understanding my silence elsewhere, or in public. Sometimes, I'm a little withdrawn because I've spent so much intense time in my own head, and they tend to think something is wrong or that I'm "weird". It's hard to explain to them that I stay home a lot, not because I'm sad or upset, but because I may be having a little trouble shaking an emotion or getting up to the speed of those who don't do those sorts of activities. And if you get me on the phone in the middle of something, there's a good chance you'll think you've dialed the wrong number.

In general, I'm lucky. I don't know anyone who doesn't want to see me succeed. Or at least they try not to show it, which is good enough for me. :^)

T. Anne said...

My youngest child wishes it wasn't so, but the rest of the kids are very supportive. My husband thinks its great as long as I'm not sequestered for long periods of time. I also make a point to watch TV and movies with the family and write during family down time. Only a few people know that I write because I don't advertise the fact. Also, I'm reluctant to let people I know read my work, partially because most of them aren't readers by nature or enjoy different genres.

Anonymous said...

They don't know.

Scott said...

My kids are really too young to understand what the heck I'm doing. My wife gives lip service about being supportive. But when I go to a coffee shop to write, she calls three times in an hour and wonders why I get irritated.

I took Rick Daley's suggestion about trying to write really early, like 5 a.m. But I found that I was a zombie by about 2 p.m. So, needless to say, I'm still searching for a solution that allows me to write daily or at least semi-daily without short changing my family or work.

I'm really open for suggestions if anyone has an idea.

Anonymous said...

My husband is completely wonderful, even though I could be making a lot more money doing something else.

scott g.f. bailey said...

The woman I am dating works in publishing, and she's very supportive (and a fine editor, too!). I have a nice group of friends who encourage my efforts as well. Though none of them quite get it regarding the process of writing. My modus operandus is to make a lot of notes, sketches, charts and fields of Post-its; surveying this, my friends constantly ask why I'm making it so hard, and why I don't just sit down and write? "I am writing," I say, scribbling in the margins of my research materials. "Be quiet over there, why dontcha?"

Anonymous said...

One of my friends tried to undermine my writing confidence.

She's not my friend anymore.

RW said...

What friends?

Moth said...

My mom is an aspiring writer too, and her stuff got called "pot boiler trash" when she was young and impressionable, so she is VERY supportive. The rest of my immediate family is likewise loving and supportive, going so far as to red-pen my manuscripts for me. The friends who know I'm a writer are likewise supportive.

What i write isn't always my boyfriend's cuppa, but he's supportive of my aspirations.

I guess I'm lucky like that. :)

Brian Spaeth said...

My parents thought I was insane until I sold my first screenplay - now they actively pitch me movie ideas.

Always supportive though.

Scott said...

I don't always share the fact that I write with people, even close friends. The ones I have shared this little nibblet into my life have been very supportive and proud.

Sometimes, the response when I tell my friends that I write is "OMG, that is amazing!" Who knew people could be impressed that someone is a writer? I never did. Then again, I'm impressed with people who can play the piano. I wish I had that talent. Trust me, I don't.

Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! said...

my family really doesn't care, since I've been a loner since birth.

Trée said...

They hate my guts for it.

Anonymous said...

I think my family is running out of patience that there's no money in it and think that I've chosen the wrong career path. My partner and I are basically surviving on student loans and food stamps, as she's a composer in grad school and what I earn can't really support that, and what she makes as a TA can't really support me, so our very conservative families must think that we're pretty close to the epitome of what's wrong with the country.

Chaff said...

My husband is extremely supportive, although I have to get him in a headlock before he'll read anything I write.

The rest of his family and my friends think it's a nice hobby that keeps me out of trouble. My sister foams at the mouth whenever the subject comes up, but that's just the way she rolls.

Sam Tamlyn said...

My husband and I are both very solitary creatures, and although he doesn't write, he gives me plenty of alone time at the computer if I give him equal reign when he wants to play video games or download music. He is not, however, quite as supportive of my desire to keep my writing private until the work is done. He'd rather read it while it is still "under construction", and I can't bear that. :-)

Stacey said...

I am really lucky that my family and friends support me and even push me to focus on writing more. That's a good sign right if they want to read more? ;)

Of course I have not spend hours upon hours in the editing stage yet. So we'll see what my husband thinks when he is in charge of the baby every night while I edit. ;)

Elissa M said...

It's a lot easier to tell people I'm an artist than a writer. I've sold lots of paintings but no writing. My husband is totally cool with it. He said, "It's what you do." He's a musician though...

My mom is more of the, "Isn't it published yet?" type. So I live 400 miles from her.

dalecoz said...

My wife thinks I'm an excellent writer, but she also puts writing professionally in the same category as being a professional athlete or an actor. In other words the vast majority of people who strive for it are wasting their lives on it, and the few who attain it are often destroyed by it.

Objectively she's probably right, but I have stories I want to share, characters I want to see live in the public imagination. So I keep writing.

Most unpublished writers, probably including me, would be better off spending their spare time learning a backup trade--electrician, plumber, carpenter,handyman, whatever. Most of us either don't understand the odds against us or think we can somehow beat them.

I think that over the next year or two you're going to see a flood of want-to-be writers that dwarfs anything you've seen so far. People get laid off, have time on their hands, and they've always wanted to write, so they will. At the same time the number of readers will probably not spike, due to reduced incomes.

Hopefully the supply of authors will go back down and the demand stabilize in a couple of years.

Vancouver Dame said...

I have great support from my own family, especially my husband, who is also a great technical advisor when my protagonist is a male. I also have a few writer friends who provide feedback and encouragement. One of them, a published writer provides the most valuable comments. My relatives in the states don't always understand, but they are tolerant. Everyone understands that writing is my time, and this is important to me. Writing feeds my soul, and if nothing else, the results will leave all my impressions and imaginations for those of my descendants to puzzle over. It's something I need to do, and I would like others to enjoy reading the results.

Thomas Burchfield said...

My wife is 110% supportive, I must say and I'm so very grateful for it; I don't have a family myself anymore (and when I did, they were somewhat ambivalent about my writing; supportive one minute, sneering the next). My wife's family is somewhat eccentric themselves--mostly independent business people--so they tend to be sympathetic. All-in-all, I'm a lucky guy right now, at last.

lotusgirl said...

My family immediate family is supportive. My husband is very good about it. One of my daughter's is my main reader and she is very helpful. A lot of my nieces also read and comment. It would be nice to get this story finished and queried to hopefully get an agent. It would sure legitimize my work and eliminate some of the looks I get sometimes from some.

Kristan said...

In a nutshell, they're supportive but impatient.

Paul Äertker said...

No one knows. No one in my birth family. All nine kids and parents are oblivious. My wife and children think it's great; but, they'd rather see it on the bookstore shelf.

Christine said...

My husband loves it! When I am writing or reading, I stop nagging him about the dirty kitchen and his 30 pairs of socks scattered around the house.

Criss said...

"I liken, “I’m writing a book,” to saying, “I’m giving up everything to be an actor.” "

Haha!

Well, I'm a writer and my husband is an actor. (Yes, our children will starve, but they will be able to beg for change in such a dramatic and eloquent manner that they'll rake it in. No?)

I haven't started the query/rejection process yet, but I've heard enough about it. My husband was belly-aching the other day about how he should quit acting because he had not been cast at his last three auditions (even though he himself admitted none of the roles really fit his age range). I scoffed at him for wanting to quit after a mere three rejections... :P

Hubby is very supportive of my writing, but not so much of the rest of my Internetz time, even when I'm blogging or reading agents' blogs.

Kate said...

My family has always been very supporive of my writing. They were my financial backers to get a creative writing degree. My employer is supportive. My boyfriend is supportive. Plus- everyone doesn't care if I do something out of the ordinary to do my work. I'm a lucky duck!

Melissa said...

My parents thought I had lost my mind at first. They were just being realistic though and kept pointing out how unlikely it was for anyone to succeed in this business.

In my mother's case, her concerns were even more well-founded, as one of her sisters had spent a lot of time and heartache trying to become a writer with absolutely no luck.

Now that they've actually read my writing, they're big fans. They're the first to read my stuff and constantly bug me for more. They're learning to give really good feedback too (giving feedback is as much a skill as writing).

My bratty little brother, who's 30!, refuses to read my work unless it has "ninjas, giant rock-throwing apes or velociraptors" in it. He also likes to suggest changes to my stories so that they include the aforementioned ninjas, giant rock-throwing apes, and velociraptors.

For example, in my YA historical fiction set in West Virginia, he suggested the striking miners dress like ninjas when they fight the coal operators, only to be attacked down in the mines by velociraptors that come through a tear in the time-space continuum.

Then again, if I included those changes, I could corner the lucrative "no freaking clue" genre that Nathan likes to rep.

Ashley said...

My parents are constantly worried that I'm working to hard (full-time job and write), but I've learned how to placate them and tune that part out. Otherwise, they're great about it. My sister's are impatient, but enthusiastic and curious.

Most of my friends generally don't have much of an opinion, but have helped me now and again, and I know that if ask for it, they will help me.

It took me a long time until I told people I was writing seriously though, and I'm still really nervous telling someone new.

boxofficegirl said...

My family moan that I'm always on the computer and then look at me in astonishment when I shut down to be with them - Can't win.

(Secretly, I think they're rather chuffed that mum writes.)

Ann Victor said...

My husband and parents are my biggest fan club.

When I write "The sky is blue" my mother sighs and says "You're so brilliant! You write better than Shakespeare." Mothers make wonderful cheerleaders.

My husband just wants to know when he can retire to a yacht off Mauritius.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

My friends and family think my writing habit is awesome! When I’m writing, I’m not talking—they’re enjoying the peace.

Seriously, everyone is very supportive. They particularly look forward to reading my blogs and get on my back if I haven’t posted by mid-morning. They share my belief that “rejection is just a reflection of someone’s regrettable lack of insight.” Yeah, I’ve trained them well.

Writers do have to be careful about who we surround ourselves with. I dated a guy who viewed my writing as nothing but a nice little hobby. I’d talk about querying agents and he’d say, “I just hate to see you get hurt.” Well, who was crying in the Pancake House when I broke up with him for being so negative? Who was hurt then, huh???

Walter said...

I've always found a way to do it when everyone else is busy with other things, and so as odd as this may sound, the hardly know about it.

Windy Aphayrath said...

I have a few fans and a few half-fans in the family and friends sector.

For the most part, all the friends are really supportive and do like to ask about submissions and progress on the getting published road.

Family, however, are mostly a pragmatic bunch and if they know I'm writing at all, they either don't say anything or they come in under the "oh, that's nice dear" umbrella.

My sister, my biggest fan, was nervous at first when I told her, now she waits to be the first to read each chapter.

And my husband, well, he's given up fighting the laptop for my attention. Now he's just waiting for the ability to retire young and spend all his days fishing.

Heidi the Hick said...

My parents don't know what the heck to think of it. My sister seems fairly unimpressed, but I don't blame her one bit; she's the one with the career and I've always been somewhat flaky! My in-laws are quietly amused by it and go out of their way to correct my grammar, even when it's a piece of writing in first person told by a character who would not have perfect 1950s British grammar.

My husband and kids are right behind me, cheering all the way. I think that matters the most.

Most of my friends know about this writing thing and are generally encouraging. Two in particular are very into it.

My parents though... they don't generally read what I write, so I don't expect them to like my work. In fact I don't want them to read it.

Two summers ago I was helping Dad with some farm work. I don't remember what brought this on, but he mentioned reading something I wrote that was full of swear words. While I was puzzling what the heck I wrote that I would have given him to read, he announced, and I love this:

"Why do you think you have to write trash like that? You're better than that. Don't you know that people who talk like that don't read anyways? They're illiterate! You should be writing something for people who think."

I believe this was his way of telling me that I'm a good writer, or at least that's what I want to believe...

DebraLSchubert said...

My lap top is my fifth appendage. When I visited my family in Colorado in December, I cut WAY back on my writing time. Their opinion? I did nothing but write the whole time I was there. My family and friends respect me for it, they just think I'm a little "over the top...!"

Janet said...

I'm also fortunate. The reactions range from enthusiastic support to benign indifference. One older member of the family does have a little trouble taking it seriously, but she doesn't get nasty about it. And her attitude would change very promptly if the money started coming in. So, all in all, I'm happy.

Madison said...

My family is supportive of me, even though they don't like too much of what I write. I write sci-fi and fantasy.

I have friends who support me and want me to do good. These friends read what I write and enjoy it.

But I think most people I know won't care until (if) I get published. But it doesn't really matter to me. I'm happy and love what I do. THAT'S what matters! :D

Very interesting question, Mr. Bransford. A very interesting one.

Ulysses said...

I'm a closet writer.

In the '90s when I had a run of short-stories published, I made sure I gave my parents a copy of each magazine in which I appeared. They were very proud, but my father said, "I'll never read them. I don't read that *manure*." As far as my brother and sister, my friends and co-workers are concerned, my writing life seems to be much like my sex life: I don't deny it exists if it comes up in conversation, but I don't advertise it.

My wife puts up with my ambitions to the point of not complaining about the time I spend writing, as I don't complain about the time she spends watching sports (she's an armchair athlete). She hopes it makes me happy. My children are aware that I write a lot, but they don't know what and really have no interest in finding out. They can't figure out why I'm not spending my time playing video games, and there are times when I can't either.

Scratchy Paw said...

To bark the truth, the family is unaware. They'd get growly if they knew I wrote about them.

NP said...

My husband has always been incredibly supportive. In fact, it was his prodding that led me to quit my 9-5 job and pursue writing full time.

Many of my friends are writers, as well, so they understand what it's like to be a writer.

Martin Willoughby said...

My family support what I'm doing and enquire whether I've submitted anything recently. It keeps me on my toes and writing and makes me send off something to somewhere so I can answer positively.

Audrianna said...

My entire family, as well as our entire neighborhood, is very supportive of the writing...as long as I make time for them as well. I usually get reprimanded about once a week for spending too much time writing and not enough time on chores, classes, etc. I must admit that I do tend to overindulge in writing and writing until I'm completely finished with a page, chapter, project, etc.

My mom and her mom are usually the only ones that read my work, even though I mostly write young adult stuff. They are always (painfully, brutally) honest with me about my work, so I know when they say that they love it, that they mean it. My mom and I are really a support system because as of a couple months ago, my mom started writing too.

Heidi - Trust me, you're not alone! My grandma usually gives me that speech..."You know, you don't have to put that word in there (or action that is something that *she* wouldn't do). Not everyone talks like that." My response: Yes, I know not everyone talks like that, but that particular character does.

It's all good though. I'll listen to all advice...I just don't have to use it, right?

Melissa said...

You know who doesn't support my writing? My dogs. Despite explaining it to them half a dozen times, they refuse to make the mental connection between my one day getting a book deal and them one day getting more and better quality kibble.

All they know is that when I'm at the computer typing, they get less walks, so they come up with various creative ways to get my attention.

My cats, on the other hand, being more highly evolved creatures, are thoughtful enough to sleep all day so that I can write undisturbed.

JaxPop said...

My wife is very supportive & I try to be fair with my time. Since I have a full-time career, I usually only write for an hour or two at night while she watches certain TV shows that I despise. Saturday night from 9 'til dawn is the most productive writing time for me. Friends & family? No one cared much until they heard checks were coming in. Now they're interested, but I avoid or downplay the topic.

Dan said...

My family is waiting for my first bestseller to come out.

Sierra Rix said...

So-so; to be honest. My husband is supportive, but wants me to balance my time, which I can find challenging when a particularily interesting idea takes hold. But I find that he is actually very helpful in editing and that when I do maintain balance, I'm never ever stuck staring at the screen, unsure of what to write next.

Kids are too little to know - they just think I love my computer...a lot.

Dawn said...

I would say they are not enthusiastic. As with everything I try that reaches beyond their life and the life I have right now...reaches out into other possibilities...they tolerate it without being too encouraging. They ultimately don't care and seem to believe it's wrong to encourage me when it will surely end in disaster.
It's no big deal, it's just the way my family works. I was not raised to believe anything is possible. It can really be a struggle sometimes.

Mim said...

My husband wants to write as well, but is currently finishing up a video project that he and a friend are working on. He is totally supportive, and his feedback and criticism are the most valuable to me.

I have a brother who's input is also incredibly valuable. He plans on getting an MFA in creative writing in another year when he's done with his BA. So he's supportive.

My sisters all marvel that I wrote something as good as I did--they've dreamt about the story. My mom keeps pushing me to start sending the novel out, even though I don't think it's quite ready. My dad told me that he'd go get the second in the series if it was available. My parents have thought I'd be a writer since high school, but it's taken twelve years to get there.

My favorite support is my seven year old daughter--I was reading my manuscript outloud to her why I proofread the first draft, and I stopped in the middle--she took my manuscript and wrote Read More of This to Me. That just melted my heart.

So my family's supportive. I don't talk about it really to my friends, but I've started coming out of the closet so to speak, and it's been good. They are all supportive.5

Kim said...

My family and friends think that writing comes easy to me. They enjoy what I write, but don't realize the time and energy involved and get annoyed when I spend too much time on the computer. It's a neverending balance act for me, trying to meet the demands of real life while still dedicating the time and focus to writing.

PurpleClover said...

Unfortunately, my husband thinks it's a waste of my (and his) time. So I write when he's sleeping or at work.

My sister just finished her memoir and she thinks my husband should suck it. She wants me to write because it is our destiny.

My kids would rather I watched Spongebob with them.

So I generally talk to my sis about writing. ;)

Whirlochre said...

Sadly, I strangled my family and buried them in a hole.

Seriously though — they want to strangle me and bury me in a hole.

Sue said...

My husband thinks I'm a genius. (He is wrong, but it's nice that he's delusional in my favor.) I write boring tech stuff for a living, and he encourages me to write fun stuff in my free time. He's taking the kids to his mother's house this weekend, specifically so that I can have some writing time. Gotta love him.

Kristy Colley said...

All have a 'good luck' attitude. Believe in me, but with no need to be verbose about it. They know I'll keep writing despite their opinions, so they're silently encouraging. We don't really talk about it. Don't need to. (unless I need to go for a drive to clear some writer's block)

Nikki Hootman said...

My husband is my biggest supporter. In spite of being totally uninterested in the genre I write, he won't let me give up even when I want to give up on myself. Actually, I think I would have thrown in the towel sometime last year if not for him.

My parents are also very supportive.

As for extended family? Being totally uninformed about what an uphill battle it is to get published, they seem to expect that my book will be on the shelves in the near future, never mind that I don't even have an agent. It's painful to face those innocent questions, so I've instituted a general policy that I Don't Talk About Writing. At this point most of them think it's because I'm a little superstitious. I'm happy with that.

Friends...

Friends? What friends? I'm writing all the time.

Anonymous said...

My husband is great, thank God. I probably wouldn't still be writing without him.

My family is supportive, but no one really gets it. My parents loved my last book, but think they have to stay on top of me to help it progress because they don't understand the seemingly endless cycle of querying and rejection.

My friends don't really get it, either. Most of them are of the "I'll write when I'm retired" variety. I once declined an evening out with a friend because I had to work on my novel. She said, "That sounds so pretentious, as if I were to tell you I have to go work on my rocket ship." I told her that the difference is that I really did have a novel.

Michael said...

My family (read: Wife) is a hard nut to crack. Balancing time between day joy (with travel, ugh), other hobbies (surprise!), fatherly husbandly duties and writing can be difficult. Currently I use travel downtime to do must of my writing, but it's neither regular nor reliable. I fear I must give up some sleep hours to get into a regular schedule. She might ease up a little if I can get something published, though. Starting a new habit is always the hardest part.

Laura D said...

I write in secret mostly. A handful of supportive friends know it's my passion.

Alicia said...

I'm lucky that my parents and husband are very supportive, as is my friends that also have a literary bend. And to my surprise, I now have two aunts that want to read my manuscript as well.

My husband, even though supportive, gets jealous pretty easily over the amount of time I spend working on the writing thing. Especially now since I'm co-authoring a book. Deep down, I think he believes it's just an excuse for me not spend time with him.

Arachne Jericho said...

Well, the writing that I get paid for, my friends think is a job well done.

The writing that gets published officially by respectable third parties but that I don't get paid for, my friends still think is a job well done.

The writing on my blog that's targeted towards the Kindle, ebooks, and books in general, my friends think is an interesting hobby, mostly since Amazon Associates pays me a pittance and at the very least I get hits (these days) and a couple Stumbles.

Anything else, my friends---the ones who don't write, that is---think is on the stupid side of things. Which included my blog for about the last year or so. (Actually, the ones who do write, some of them still think blogging is stupid, and heck, you know, it *is* blogging.)

But you persevere, and all that, and hopefully in the end it pays out.

Money is the goal marker for respectability, in other words, and at least money is measurable. Anything else that doesn't eventually work out is pointless in the eyes of many of my friends.

You'd think this would be a deterrent, and I used to think it was. But I've found out that mostly it makes me think harder about what I really want out of writing, and how to develop the path, and also what my path may/might/should/can be, maybe. A very good reality check.

Jack Roberts, Annabelle's scribe said...

Most support. My wife is my strength. So are my kids. They all still believe it’s going to happen, even when I’m in a more realistic mood.
Average friends and family think it’s fantastic that I wrote a book but they think that means you instantly get published. They don’t realize the hard work and long road you have as you edit, submit and so on.
Regardless, they do support me, too.

Melissa said...

My parents are glad that I finally figured out what to do with my life. At fifty. Hey, I'm a late bloomer!

My husband is glad I'm happy and busy after the Princess of the Universe left for college

My daughter wonders why anyone would read, much less write, but she's one of the biggest fans of my edgy YA mss, helping me 'keep it real'

My friends patiently read my drafts and are brutally honest.

My dogs watch patiently until I need a break. They love it when I get stuck and need a lot of walks.

Biggest frustration? People don't know the publishing business, how hard it is to get the right kind of attention. My businessman hubby thinks you just send out some professional letters and Voila! Published!

Rejection? It's a tough world out there, every rejection forces me to write better. I'm just one step away from sainthood.

Jenna Loves Chachi said...

I am a naturally solitary person, so the writing life suits me.

My family are all massive readers, so it's all good on that end. My Mother used to own a used bookstore when I was a child, and my older sister and I went there every day after school and just picked out books to read. I still love the smell and feel of used book stores today, it's comforting!

At home we had a mind-boggling amount of books, and Mum and Dad were especially into Sci-Fi and Fantasy, so that's where my interest in those genres came from. Mum and Dad are old hippies and are just glad that I'm not super straight-laced and normal, I think! They're happy that I'm and artsy, creative type :)

My older sister is also a writer and editor, so no friction there. A little good-natured competition perhaps, but definitely supportive.

My friends are supportive too. Probably because they're just as weird as I am - they consist of traveling gypsies, tattoo artists, and just general swell folk like that.

TERI REES WANG said...

I tend not to share my writings with friends.
I have shares some visual art, but only because I could no longer hide it.

I am in a book club, and our one rule is...
"no friend authors".
...but, even that is changing as new members unknowingly offer up their friend's work, if it has proven reviews and sales, that seems to be the acceptance ticket; interesting.

Lisa said...

Nobody knew for years.

My ex was supportive in a generic way, but never expressed a desire to read anything.

Mentioned it to various members of my family a couple of years ago, and the reaction has been about the same as if I said "I'm collecting antique telephones now."

"Nice, Lisa, I'm sure you're wonderful at it, and I'm going to change the subject now."

Works for me.

Griffin Asher said...

When I started writing my first novel my parents (I still lived with them at the time) thought that was cool. Then I started showing signs of "writer crazy" and asking questions like "Would a long sword be able to cut someone's head off in one blow?" and "What would be the easiest way to remove a human heart?" (I write Fantasy, btw) Then they started to get a little worried about me, but were still supportive. My friend's opinions range from being mystified that I'm a writer to rolling their eyes and saying, "Are you _still_ doing that stuff?"

For the most part though everyone is supportive (even if they are a little confused as to why).

Kelley Nyrae said...

My hubby believes in me and supports me until it's his day off and he needs to watch the kids so I can write. LOL. I'm half joking and half not. He does try to be supportive but I think it's hard for people who don't write to understand what we do, and what goes into writing a book.

Meg said...

"I wish I had time to write a novel." Is honestly the most common response I get from my family. The guilt trip because I'm financially able to purely focus on writing and they never 'got the chance'. Still supportive though. Just makes me not want to talk about it with them.

My husband and my friends are super supportive. One of my friends seems to think I am now a super genius because I wrote a book. She's a little odd.

Sharon Gerlach said...

The parental units have gone from "writing is a good way to amount to nothing" to "you'll never finish anything" to "now that you've finished something, you'll never sell it." I keep proving them wrong; hopefully soon I'll prove them wrong on the last one, too (I'm sure they'll go on to "It won't sell very many copies" once I do sell something. Oy.)

My husband, children, and friends, on the other hand, are very supportive. My husband reads everything I write, helps me figure out tricky plot issues, tells me when he thinks I'm going in an implausible direction, and helps me "guy things up" when I'm writing from a male POV.

Most of my friends are writers themselves, so they absolutely comprehend how my brain is always outlining plots, developing characters, and running through dialogue even when I'm not actively writing.

I've been really blessed to be surrounded by people who understand they will rarely have my full attention, and accept it as part & parcel of our relationship.

MzMannerz said...

It depends on how long they've known me.

Some people are impatient with me and believe I don't focus on it enough or have waited too long to focus on it. It's good natured impatience. I think.

All of my family and friends are supportive. My husband, in particular, is very much on board and very encouraging. This is a huge positive for me because he's not someone who gets excited about things he views as extraneous or hobbies. I paint and sing and I'm pretty sure the response would be "Huh?" if you asked him about those activities. :)

~Jamie said...

As a new writer... this one is really tough for me... my husband is excited and supportive, but not really so interested in reading or editing, etc. I want to show my friends my writing... but I am scared to... it's like a different side of me that they didn't know existed before, and I have to just get over it and let them read it! It's a weird new balance... I have had to find friends that write... that has helped a lot, because they understand the true meaning of a work in progress, and don't expect every draft to be a publishable work of art.

Anonymous said...

For me, I never mentioned to anyone I wrote, and only my immediate family knew. They didn't care because I already worked a full-time career dayjob that pays the bills. When I sold my novel, though, what they did notice was the sudden interest in social networking and web promotion which ate up a lot of my time (most of the writing is done late at night after the wife is asleep anyway), but the promotional stuff I'd be up doing before work, as soon as I got home from work before dinner, and on the weekends--more than the writing itself. And everyone's like, doesn't your publisher do this kind of stuff for you? You have no control over how it sells anyway...So it's not the writing itself that took some explaining, but the business of it.

Raethe said...

My family's basically supportive of whatever I want to do, in a passive sort of way. Actually, my mother gets much more involved in my musical aspirations than my writing ones; my friends have asked me "is she your mother or your manager". (Her answer: "Yes".) I'm not too sure what the difference is, unless it's the abundance of local American Idol-style talent contests. But yes, other than that, my family basically just lets me do my own thing.

Most of my friends ARE writers, and the ones who aren't judgemental. I'm lucky in my family and like to think I have good taste in choosing my friends. ;)

I've never been the closet type. I just do what I do and I'm not particularly apologetic about it. That might also have something to do with the way other people view it.

Anonymous said...

I should add to the above, though, that my modest advance went a long way toward having people put up with the time it takes.

Allegory19 said...

Average friends and family think it’s fantastic that I wrote a book but they think that means you instantly get published.

Tell me about it! Especially my dad, he just doesn't get it...

Sophie W. said...

My parents are supportive but congenially baffled.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cam said...

The more seriously I take it, the more seriously they take it. If I let too many things get in the way of the writing, they'll think it's optional, which it's not.

Kat Mayo said...

When I told my mother and my husband I was going to actually write, they both said 'finally', like I was coming out of the closet, and bought me a new laptop. It seems I was the last to know I wanted to be a writer.

Mary said...

Most of my friends and family don’t know that I write. They just think I’ve become somewhat anti-social. ;)

The few closest to me are very supportive. Luckily, they too have projects with which they’re a little obsessed.

Dearth of Reason said...

When I seclude myself to write, they suspect I'm watching porn. They're wrong. They suspect that if I'm not watching porn, I must be playing games or updating my Facebook profile or reading blogs. They may be right about that. So now I must find a secluded place with no broadband connection -- they'll probably suspect I'm napping.

acpaul said...

My father thinks it's a waste of time I don't have. My husband thinks, or rather, knows I'm crazy, and my children are trying to read over my shoulder since I tell better stories than their teacher.

Anonymous said...

It goes like this:
Me: What does this title sound like to you?
Husband: Like nothing I'd ever read!
At least he's honest with me. My husband surprised me by registering me for my first writer's conference (granted he picked one near the Basketball Hall of Fame, Boston, etc.). He supports me but he's also HONEST and REALISTIC. When I get rejected he says, "It's about the journey, not the end result." Blech!! But true. I'm learning every day. Also, he works all the time, too. We lay in bed with our laptops -- him catching up on hundreds of e-mails and me writing!

Kristin Laughtin said...

They're my family. They're all certain that I'll land the first agent I query, get a nice deal, and have an instant success with my first book. When I try to enlighten them to the realities of the publishing industry (not saying anything negative or even self-deprecatory), they tell me to "think positive". Honestly, it has the opposite effect of what they hope for because it makes me more nervous about living up to expectations.

Joann Mannix said...

I, too, am fortunate enough to have a great support system in the Hubby and the kids. Still, in my little nuclear core, I feel I am definitely in the loneliest profession. There is that place you wander off to in your head, that only other writers understand and in the midst of writing, it's hard to bring myself out of that mindset and back into the real world. That is my only complaint. In all other ways, when it comes to my clan having my back, I am a fortunate soul.

ryan field said...

Walter said..."I've always found a way to do it when everyone else is busy with other things, and so as odd as this may sound, the hardly know about it."

Thank you, Walter. I always did the same thing until recently. I thought I was the only one.

bradfordgarrigues said...

My husband and I both write and support each other. However, until our works come out in print (aka, until they are on the shelves of a major bookstore), we do not talk to others about it. My husband does make a few exceptions from time to time, mainly to give his manuscript to others for review (persons with a literary background, of course). This way neither of us suffers a bloated ego from our well-meaning families or the awkward moments of 'How's the book coming?'

Just_Me said...

My dear husband's retirement plans revolve around me becoming as popular as JKR in the next 10 year. He probably just supports me because he knows it keeps me sane, and he prefers living with a happy wife, even if it means discussing characters at the dinner table sometimes.

I think the rest of the family tends to watch with morbid fascination, like watching a train wreck. They can't quite believe someone actually is trying to publish a novel. I'm pretty sure my father isn't aware of any novelist younger than Douglas Adams. It isn't the kind of support that gets me a publishing contract without writing a book, but I know they'll be around to celebrate should I ever actually get published.

MommyJ said...

My husband thinks I'm aging prematurely because I write until 2 AM atleast three or four nights a week. Then up with the kids at 7 every single day.... years shaving off the end of my life one, by one, by one...

But he's supportive. He thinks it's amazing that when I'm writing, no matter the hour, I rarely yawn because I am so intrigued by my own thoughts. That sounds extremely full of myself... it shouldn't. Because I'm not... and I'm not particularly intriguing either... but what goes on inside my head often is.

Lupina said...

It helped that I kept my day job until I had my first two books published. The fam is generally proud although they don't understand why I'm not making a million bucks, although I've replaced said day job's modest salary. And they are generally fine with me writing except when they want supper and I'm on deadline. Needless to say, they have all learned to cook.

Jen said...

My family is great. I've always written, so they're used to it, I suppose. *grin* My husband is also fantastic. He's got hobbies of his own that he pursues while I do my writing, and he's always willing to listen, to be a sounding board, and to lift me up when I get discouraged. Couldn't ask for more that way. :)

All my friends are writers, so they already get it. I'm grateful for them, too.

AC said...

My husband supports me 100% too, and I sometimes think he has more faith in me than I do. He's also great to discuss plot points with. Although since he's more of a SFF kind of guy, discussing plot for my new literary mystery isn't exactly his cup of tea. No zombies or stuff exploding.

Robert Gray said...

I usually get sympathy smiles, and comments like, "He's a special boy, you know," or "How's our little-writer doing today?"

sex scenes at starbucks said...

It took a sale to get actual respect. Now they accept that this is what I do. My kids, when asked what I do, say I'm a writer and my son always wants "the editor" to help him with his grammar.

Anonymous said...

Only my husband is interested and supportive. Along with a few friends. Others ignore the fact that I write, and sometimes the writing seems like a sad, ugly stepchild that is locked in the back bedroom. I know people that NEVER acknowledge my writing, even to casually ask, "how's the book going?" A few friends are supportive. One really does get all kinds of reactions, and at this point (minor publication after years of effort) I stay low key,too, kind of like the sad, ugly stepchild in the upstairs bedroom.

Emily Cross said...

Its nice to read how supportive the majority of family and friends are.

When i told my parents that i was going to write, i got the 'aw really, thats nice dear' answer. . . . followed shortly by the
'now about a real career'

*cough*

So no one knows that i write. I'm just wasting away with a boring postgrad, dreaming of success lol

Grapeshot/Odette said...

One of my friends said, "I'm not going to read your book because if I didn't like it I would have to tell you."

Lisa Katzenberger said...

I wrote in secret for years before I told any of my friends. I didn't think they would get it and I worried that my co-workers wouldn’t take me seriously. But once I quit my job to write full-time and had to tell folks what I was up to, everyone was super supportive. Plus, so many people gave me the old, "oh I've always wanted to be a writer too!"

Anonymous said...

My older brother just read the first chapter of my novel and told me he was both surprised and impressed. How exactly should I take that?

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

My family encourage me, brag about me, pat me on the head and then expect me to give them free books.

Jen said...

My parents and friends are very supportive, although sometimes they get peeved that I spend more time with my fictional characters than with them. My family also got highly annoyed when I typed all the way through Thanksgiving...but overall, they're pretty good about the whole thing. My English teacher (who is also writing a novel) and I are always competing to see who can get more words written in a week (it's usually me).

Anonymous said...

Let's see. I am more or less unemployed, I write my story on a laptop with missing keys and my two sisters just sat in an office for 2 hours waiting for me to get a script for Paxil. They are awesome and they believe in me.

L.C. Gant said...

I'm very blessed to have an amazingly supportive family. My husband would want me to blow bubbles for a living if it made me happy.

That said, my dad has been more supportive of my writing than anyone else. He always wanted to be a writer but for some reason it just didn't happen, so to be honest I think he wants to live his dream through me.

When I told him I wanted to be an attorney because I thought it would pay better, he was horrified. "You should be a writer!" he said. "Always do what you love, no matter what." How often do you hear something like that from a parent?! Best advice he ever gave me :)

Anonymous said...

I think my husband thought this would be our ticket to riches so he let me alone when I began obsessively spending time with the laptop and Microsoft Word. By the time he figured out that this would, in fact, not be our ticket to riches, it was too late--long hours writing had become a part of our lives. :)

Sarah Jensen said...

My husband and kids support me 90-95% of the time. When the house is no longer livable, they get a little testy. :)
Most of my friends write, so they totally get it.
Family, ie, brothers and sisters--they think I'm crazy.

Anonymous said...

I stopped telling people I write after my dad said "I know this is touching on a sore subject, but..." in regards to my agent-rejected queries.

It's not a sore subject, not at all! I'm working hard on fixing all the mistakes from the first time around. But I think that he thought if I wasn't successful then this was all a waste. It's a marathon, not a sprint. But family and friends don't see it that way.

lmgroszek said...

I've just recently let everyone in on the fact that I'm a writer. I'm a teacher too, so I think they dig that I write. I finished my novel this year and told them when I got over excited about a publishing offer from what turned out to be a company that wasn't going to do me much good.....otherwise, they still wouldn't know.........

Eva Ulian said...

Those, who, for me, had any esteem in my family are now all dead and buried, those who are still around think I'm nuts- but my friends... they all think I'm going to hit the NY Times List- that's what I call blind faith!

Lady Glamis said...

Wow. Lots of comments. Well, Nathan, if you actually read this, here's my bit.

My family thinks I'm pretty dedicated. And pretty nuts. My husband is supportive, but gets annoyed.

I keep doing it because I love it and I know it will pay off one day, whether through publication or just producing something wonderful.

AstonWest said...

Mine love it. Go figure.

Aaron Stephens said...

My family supports my passion. I think sometimes I lose them when I start throwing out jargon about writing and the publishing industry. Overall, they like to hear about the trials of putting together a manuscript, the query process, and how other books and such are selling. They also enjoy the fantasy yarns I have created.

My wife is now my biggest supporter, foundation, and my muse. She pushes me in a positive way to keep writing more stories and to never give up on the dream of being published one day.

I have some close friends I share my stories with and they like what I am doing.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

My mother also holds a degree in English so she is thrilled. Beyond that, I really don't bore my friends and family with my writing aspirations. (Even my identical twin sister would probably call me nuts--which I probably am--if I divulged that I long to be a published writer.

I am somewhat fortunate because during the mornings while the kids are at school, I can devote a few hours to my writing.

Ruth said...

I am also lucky to have wonderful support.

-BUT-

My father cries because he refuses to believe it's fiction.

Stephan Alexander Scharnberg said...

This is somewhat difficult for me to answer without becoming a little upset.

Although my wife encouraged/encourages me to write, and I have for the last few years, preceded by years of poetry, she nevertheless gets irritated by my writing.

She impatiently expects me to pound out some best-selling novel and earn lots of money for it (says it shouldn't take more than a year or two--she has no idea what it takes to write, edit, find a publisher--and I write in the last two hours of my second daily full-time job).

Yet she hardly reads or enjoys fiction herself. We argue when I reiterate my reasons for writing: I enjoy it and I am compelled to write--it is as important as sleep, bread, and water.

She also suggests I should write some New Age theory or self-help book, or something--I don't know what. I know nothing of the New Age movement except that i largely consider it suspect--it's often a scam or replete with charlatans. If she feels so strongly about it, she should write it herself.

I am working on a travel book. I am an advid reader of Patrick Leigh fermor, Eric Newby, and Paul Theroux. She then accuses me of living in the past--says thta is all useless--I should live in the present, only think of the future.

My, I'm feeling angry now!

Bottom line, in the main, she is actually unsupportive and not understanding of me as a writer.

Mary Moore said...

My family supports me and say I'm a good writer, but they don't understand the work and effort that goes into it behind the scenes.

Stephan Alexander Scharnberg said...

Sorry about the typos in my preceding commentary--anger got in the way.

pjd said...

My mom says I'm the best. writer. ever. And she wonders why you haven't signed me as a client yet. I quoted her in the query, too!

Friends are very supportive. Perhaps because over the years I've weeded out the ones who are unlikely to be supportive. Like the ones with taste, the ones who can read, etc. Spouse is as supportive as she can be. She understands it, but that doesn't get the kids to bed, the dishes washed, and the garbage taken out. (I figure if I wait long enough, the garbage will evolve and take itself out.)

Anna said...

well, as long as they don't have to read any of it, and I cook dinner every once in a while, it seems to be a non-issue. my kids are too old to hope for a pony, but if I ever make any money, I know hubby would appreciate a new car stereo.

otherwise they are nice and supportive, in a hands-off sort of way. having said that, by the end of a project, hubby's ready for some attention. can't say I blame him.

Anonymous said...

Uhm...considering I'm a minor with two very athletic siblings, my parents are a weird mix of having to support me because I'm their daughter and not liking it becuase its not a very social habit (that, and they want me to write rainbow-and-kitten stories, which is why they don't get to read it. anything with blood and they would never let me touch a keyboard again).

Cindy Jacks said...

When I first made the decision to pursue writing as a professional, they resented the amount of time I spent clacking away at my laptop. Since then, I've learned to balance family time with writing time. Being a very disciplined writer, it's easy for me to write at the same time every night once the fam is in bed.

Anonymous said...

I'm told I'm selfish.

Stef Kramer said...

My family tolerates my emotional absence. They enjoy my finished products. And my husband is thankful for my paying bank job.

Anonymous said...

I may be headed for divorce, exactly because of this problem.

Scotty said...

Has anyone seen this? Nathan?

http://www.borders.com.au/chain-thriller/home.asp

The world's first "chain novel" inspired by James Patterson. Sounds kind of cool, and not an idea that couldn't be done on your better blogs.

Hint.



Hint. ;^)

Anonymous said...

The ex was supportive until the 1st book started winning contests and getting agent/editor requests. But he's history. Now that the youngest kidlet is in college, the time I spend writing is rarely an issue. Interestingly, in one of those corporate touchy-feely lets all get to know one another sessions, I came out. I couldn't believe how supportive everyone was, especially since I write romance. At one Xmas party, my boss insisted I tell everyone the plot of my book because she thought it was so cool. One of my colleagues assured me he and his wife would come to my booksigning when I sold a book. I'll hold him to it when it happens. :-)

Two weeks ago my daughter asked to read my book. I printed out 100 pages, thinking she wouldn't finish it. She did and begged for more. She read the whole thing and told me to hurry up with the next book because she needs something to read. That's the best kind of support. :-)

Jean said...

Are you kidding? I told my parents about a new blog I'm making and they are pestering me every five minutes on how I should do things differently so I can (Self-publish it--yeah right) and make a pile of money (not knowing it would take the next five years of my life to make even five dollars off it!). There is no way they are getting their hands on my real writing. No way.

My husband on the other hand is IMMENSELY supportive and he's the best. Very great.

Anita Saxena said...

My Mom and Dad aren't readers, but they understand that it makes me happy. My brother doesn't have time to read since he's busy with dental school, but he's proud of my writing just the same. My boyfriend doesn't believe in fiction, reading it, or writing it, and yet he is EXTREMELY supportive. In fact he came up with the idea that was the glue for my current novel.
I think those who know me agree that when I write and read I am the happiest, and therefore they are supportive.

Dreamers Dream said...

my mom never believed in me until a few days ago when someone told me to contact some magazine editor to get them published- haha, i got excited and showed my mom some of the things i've written, and ever since then- she's been here 24/7

:D
And my friends just think it's really "cool" and proud of the goals ive been setting, but i think they are just waiting to see those goals achieve!

Nancy Coffelt said...

The nicest present my husband ever gave me was making his way up to my office/studio known as the "troll hole" and tell me that after reading a biography of another writer, he'd finally figured me out.
Now I don't have to explain my constant distraction, a laundry room of mis-matched socks and frozen pizza for dinner more than a couple nights a week. What a relief! And better than a diamond ring any day.

Linda said...

Getting personal here, Nathan.

This question gets my gut all tight, and all I can say is I'm glad so many people 'above me' get the support they need from the people they love.

People in my family generally don't get my need to write. After three years, I've finally stopped apologizing. Winning a thousand bucks in a first chapter contest at least dissipated the 'why ya wasting your time' 'tudes.

Peace...

The Geeky Quill said...

My husband thinks it's a complete waste of time. My kids think it's kind of cool. Extended family think I'm probably insane. I avoid talking about my writing with friends. When they say, " I heard you're writing a novel." I just paste on a smile and nod.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of, 'are you changing it AGAIN?' I reply, "Is there something you want me to do for you?" They slink off. And, I continue on my merry way.
Blessings.

Richard Lewis said...

Behind every well-fed writer is the primary breadwinner.

In my case, it's my wife. She's also my first and best reader. My wife is my first and best reader. Half way through one novel manuscript, she remarked about my protagonist, "He's so spoiled and annoying I want to give him a spanking" which was not at all what I intended. She was right. I knew the novel was in big trouble.

pomona-hall said...

My current boyfriend supports it (in fact, he's made overtures about co-authoring, or at least sharing one of my universes, a SF universe where the main character is an elevator AI). He tries to get me writing when I'm suffering from writer's block (aka "everything I write sucks"). Occasionally it gets to the point where I want to tell him to just back off because it's pressuring me and not helping, but I don't say that, because I'd rather he be too supportive than not at all.

My mother doesn't know English well enough to enjoy novels. She doesn't even enjoy reading English newspaper articles. I'd have to write in Chinese for her to seriously consider reading anything I write.

My father is a very entrenched genre reader. He isn't interested in anything except wuxia or other similar swashbuckling tales set in China. I'm working on him, but I need to write more and make it vaguely crossover-ish.

My siblings, however, are supportive. One of my cousins and my younger sister are amateur writers (my younger sister recently won a national award in my home country). Both of them consider me one of their idols, and usually talk about me in rarefied terms. (Yet I notice they don't usually read what I write, which tends towards SF/fantasy; they enjoy the general fiction, but steer clear of anything with alternate universes.)

The only ones left are my friends. Without their constant encouragement and their support, I wouldn't be clinging on to this dream. My friends' reaction to my stories has always been, "Oh lord, where's the rest? More, please!" And because of that--because of them, I have the strength to keep writing.

Matt S said...

My wife is hugely supportive. When I was discouraged and on the verge of giving up, she pushed me to do NaNo, the result of which was a poorly-executed good idea. Whenever I start to fall into whiney-writer mode, she yells and me and puts me on a schedule. Sometimes she gets frustrated or annoyed if I say "I'm almost done" and keep writing for another few hours, but overall she's amazing.

The further away from me you get, the less supportive people are. Some of my friends think I'm good, and some just don't care. My parents are kind of supportive, sorta, not really. The extended relatives crushed my dream of being a musician with all their talk of "money" and "degrees" and what not, so I don't talk about writing around them.

StrugglingToMakeIt said...

I'm single and I have no friends, so it's no problem. Kidding, kidding... a little bit. Actually, my mom is the one who encouraged me to pursue this thing. Even back when I wouldn't show anybody anything I wrote. She's a #1/aces kinda lady. And all my friends who know I write think it's great and always ask me how it's going and tell me I'll make it.

Jan said...

My family isn't interested in my writing at all. Funny because my husband used to berate me for not writing after graduating with a degree in Journalism. Now I am just getting started by blogging and experimenting with my creativity and no one is interested at all. My youngest daughter said that she thought my blog was "private" and that was why she never asked about it. I gave her the web address and will see if she becomes a follower or just a lurker!

Remus Shepherd said...

My family thinks I'm a genius, and don't understand why I'm not published yet.

Writing is one of the *most* social things I do. At least it gets me in contact with other writers occasionally. My family is happy I'm not living in a shack mailing out letterbombs and weaving a flag for a new country out of my back hair.

notanotherexit said...

My mother htinks it's a phenomenal waste of time. My siblings think it's an excuse to forget to fold my laundry properly, or to accidentally burn the cookies. My family's general concensus is that since I'm not published and probably never will be (their opinion, not mine), I should quit wasting my time.

My friends, however, are the most amazing support group, ever. They're all writers--published and unpublished--and they're all serious about enjoying writing and, even better, working to improve.

Outside of that? Well, let's just say my boss calls me a "misery" or "miserable" writer, instead of a mystery writer, and acts like it's a cute new freudian slip every time.

Erica said...

Some of these responses are hilarious.

I find the more I write, the less I have to talk about.

Marilyn Peake said...

Scotty,

I love the idea of participating in a chain novel. Reminds me of the Round Robin novels in which each author writes a separate chapter, like The Omega Egg round robin edited by Mike Resnick. Nathan, would you ever consider sponsoring something like that?

Scott said...

My family is very supportive, especially my wife. (Can't say that about my first wife, unfortunately.) They're all looking forward to my upcoming article in The Writer.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Newbee said...

My husband and kids love that I'm writing. It drives me crazy trying to balance working full-time, doing my "church" duties, being a Mom, being a wife, and being a writer ...all in one perfectly molded person. Sure it sucks alot of the time. But, I'm finding that the farther I stretch myself the more I grow as a person.

Just last night my husband commented on how he saw my personal growth through the "craze" of it all. My parents can't wait till they see a finished product. My father knows he will not live to see that day since he has been given 4-6 months due to his cancer. I promised to dedicate the book to him (he made sure I promised him too). I would say he is my biggest fan...;)

Jenna loves Chachi said...

After reading through everyone's personal insights, it really made me feel blessed to come from the background that I did. I was brought up to just do what I want to do without worrying about other people's opinions. Which probably explains why I have so few friends, but the ones I do have are super kick-arse!

If I had friends or family members who tried to tell me that something I loved to do was a "waste of time" I'd just blank them and not speak to them anymore. Life's too fun and interesting to be surrounded by such negative people.

Pattie Garner said...

My family ignores any and all failures in my life. I find it a blessing in disguise. I've never felt rejected or I couldn't do something because they have left me alone in my own little world. They never get excited unless I suceed.

Anonymous said...

Half my family thinks I'm delusional and is too polite to say so; the other half says, "What do you do again?" If/when my first book is published, they will unite in their demand for free copies for them and all their friends. If I ever actually do make any money, they will want a piece of that action, too. Love 'em. Mean it.

Two Flights Down said...

When I was looking into colleges, my parents didn't really take an interest...that is until I was accepted into a college that was far away--and I would be majoring in creative writing. My dad suggested I go to that one college that had the theater program...

Vodka Mom said...

They think I am insane. pure and simple.

Carradee said...

Friends: like it. Many of them write, too, or have started because I do.

Family: like it when I'm writing informational articles, despise it when I'm writing fiction, especially fantasy.

Taire said...

They like to read it (the first time), but they resent it when I write. There are times when I feel like I have a habit, like a junkie or something. I sneak in a few words before dinner, after the dishes or before anyone else wakes up. And then the day starts and there are the endless appointments and work. Sadly, the most productive time is when I lurk in waiting rooms typing on my laptop hiding behind the potted plants hoping that no one will ask me anything. It seems there is always some slope headed idiot with his name embroidered on his shirt who wants to know if I am writing a novel. “Yes, (expletive), I am.” Honestly, it's not easy.

Stephen Moegling said...

I learned the hard way not to go tell everyone I knew or met on the street that I was working on a novel. In my experience, picking a small cadre of people you trust and who have empathy for the process, along with enthusiasm for your pursuit in being a writer, is the best path to sharing. I also learned to be very spare with my conversations with others about my work. Despite my enthusiasm, at the end of the day it's still work. And talking shop to everyone is a recipe for boring people to death. Oh, and my wife is awesome for putting up with me.

Ego said...

One couple I know - who are big fans of crime writing - have embraced my heroine to the extent that Cynthia seems to be as real to them as Poirot or Holmes. You can imagine how encouraging that is.

But then even criticism, however harsh, is fantastic because it gives you a chance to improve. Some acquaintances have become closer friends as a result of negative but constructive feedback.

One or two people who asked for a copy of my novel claim not to have read it yet. Of course I suspect that they did read it, and they hated it, and they don't want to say so. But maybe they are just so awed by my genius that they are afraid to comment.

Jo said...

My family is wonderfully supportive. My parents even flew out from Europe for my first reading. My husband is great and is one of my first cold readers when I've finished a book although it took a while before I could be comfortable with his criticism and not take it personally. My kids give me no time to write but that's not exactly their fault- they're too young to understand the process although my 6 year old son is very proud and always points out my book to everyone in the library.
Most of my friends now are writers so they understand. Other friends have finally figured out that writing is a job and not to just drop in during the day assuming I'll be lounging around doing absolutely nothing. And I have lost some friends who think I've changed since being published, becoming anti-social, cold and unsupportive. Oh well.

Scotty said...

Marilynn,

I'm off to check that link out. Thanks!

I think it would be fun, too. I really like that the chapters have to be only 750 words, too. It could be a good exercise for new writers, and wouldn't take an age to finish. Very "Who's Line is it Anyway". :)

Anonymous said...

Everyone thinks I'm a nutjob. They don't understand the process, they don't understand the type of stories I write, and they don't understand how I can keep throwing myself against the brick wall of publishing only to get rejected once again.
Writing is a disease, and I have it.

superwench83 said...

It's nice to see that so many writers out there have supportive family and friends. Mine are kind of in the middle. It's not that they're not supportive, it's just that they don't get it. Especially my parents. Their attitude seems to be, "Oh, she has a cute little hobby. Isn't that nice?" I don't let it bother me, though. Really, I understand why they feel that way. Since writing is such a solitary pursuit, no one sees how much time and effort I put into it. And if they did see it, I know that they'd probably view things differently.

AravisGirl said...

My family, I think, delights in encouraging, mocking, oppressing, annoying, patronizing, interrogating, and giving weird looks to me.

They think I'm an eccentric, crazy writer (they don't say "crazy" anymore, but when I start talking about Dream Universes and literally speaking w/ my characters, that's when my brother will slowly twirl his finger at the side of his head)

My real-life friends? I haven't had those in ages. But used to, people thought it was cool that I was a writer. And that's about it.

I've met a lot of writers online.

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Writing fulltime from home has to be one of the hardest conquests for any writer, especially when you have five kids like me and a household that feels more like a train station than a home with people coming and going.

However, having said that, when you have the passion, determination and persistence there is always time to write.

I edit, read submissions for a publishing house, yet work on my own writing every day.

mostro said...

@Scott 9:39am: Library. It can be a great place to write (if you don't get distracted by all those books) and you have a built in excuse to turn off your phone. :) You may miss the cozy coffee and a pastry thing, but you'll get to write uninterrupted.

Then surprise your wife with flowers or chocolates now and then. Of course then she'll suspect you're having an affair, which you kind of are. *g*

Luck!

Lisa said...

Silence? I could only wish for silence. I've conducted interviews on the telephone while locked in the bathroom to escape the noise of three kids, a dog and a not-so-quiet husband. I've finished up articles in a hotel room while my five-year-old jumped from bed to bed while listening to the maniacal laugh of Spongebob. I've read through archived research material buckled into the passenger seat of our SUV barreling down the road filled with a full load of other people's kids headed to a climbing competition.

Silence. Oh, that sounds wonderful. I'll have to try that sometime when everyone moves out (I haven't figured out how to make that happen yet. Eight-year-olds seem to think emancipation isn't all it's cracked up to be.)

Michelle H. said...

Friends are supportive.

My family absolutely hates it. They follow one simply rule: Ignorance is bliss unless you become famous. So they don't talk about it.

Mira said...

In thinking about this question, I realized that all my friends are writers, and I met most of them in writing groups. And the one I'm closest to in my family, my brother, also is a writer. In general, we're all extremely supportive of each other....

Although. One challenge that comes up with some of my friends is subtle competition and envy. I think it's natural for writers to compare. Sometimes I think they are all better than me, and I'm not worthy to be their friend. Sometimes I have moments (based on the fact that I'm unpublished and am not writing anything) where I'm sure that I'm much better than they are, and I should help them feel okay about themselves anyway.

Oddly enough, they don't seem to appreciate that.

So, these kind of things periodically strain the friendships. Oh, and of course walking that line when you don't like what you're friend wrote - it's challenging.

But when we can talk about it - where we admit that we're jealous, competitive, etc., it really strengths and deepens the friendship. And also strengthens my sense of myself as a writer.

I count myself very lucky.

Alexa said...

So far everyone has been very supportive and interested.
Although I think my MIL was slightly miffed when I ditched her at the mall to sit in Starbucks and scribble away but I loathe shopping and I did wait a whole two hours before I left :)

Tabitha said...

My dad thinks I should just self-publish and be done with it already. *shrug* ;)

My husband and kids, though, are very supportive. My oldest son loves books, so he thinks it's ultra cool that "Mommy writes stories." And I'm good with that. :)

other lisa said...

Most of the people in my life - family and friends - are very supportive. Occasionally though I encounter people who are underminers - not interested in seeing me succeed and at times actively engaged in petty forms of sabotage - nasty little jibes badly disguised as advice or sympathy.

I'm trying to learn how to avoid people like that.

Diana said...

My husband and daughter are my biggest fans. They fully support the time it takes to write, so long as it does not in any way impact their quality of life...

At cocktail parties, weddings, etc., people's initial excitement at hearing I am a writer quickly wanes into a glassy eyed stare when they discover I write non-fiction. They act as though I have tricked them in some way.

Anonymous said...

Boy, is this thread depressing.

Carolyn said...

My son (13) is very proud of me.

The rest of my family thinks writing is easy and that I'm raking in the big bucks. They don't seem to understand that I have two full time jobs; the day job and writing. And of course, my son. So that's three full time jobs.

Polenth said...

I come from a family of readers, so writing isn't seen as odd. They read my blog and ask how it's going. One of my family also writes, and my boyfriend critiques my stuff.

I don't get angsty though. About the most they have to put up with is being forced to eat doughnuts when I have a success.

Barbara's blog said...

My husband supports it 100%. My friends and family want to know when I'm going to get another book published so they can read it. If someone thinks it's strange, they haven't told me yet.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlene said...

The boyfriend is proud of me for keeping at it and supports me, but most of the family at times I think only takes an interest because they believe I'm going to hit it big and take them with me -.-
Well okay, they alternate between that belief and poorly-faked interest.

My sister's the exception though, since she's also a writer she's taken a lot of interest in what I'm doing.

Kourtnie McKenzie said...

My partner supports me 100%--which I think is the most important part--but I believe my dad thinks I'm kidding, or that I might be dreaming too much, and my mother's words of kindness were "It takes some people ten years to get published."

Nona said...

I just got back from Phoenix where the exchange with my mother went something like this:

HER: You think you're gonna write? Your sister's ex-boyfriend got a meeting at New Line. New Line! He never got anywhere!
ME: That's 'cos he was a producer trying to write an adaptation. Not a writer!
HER: (dismissive hand wave)

Anonymous said...

My freidns are very supportive, but they put a lot of pressure on: "when am I going to see your story?", "aren't you done yet?".

My husband and little girl resent the time I spend working on my writing, but they do seem to get that I need to do tis. My husband has no interest in what I write, but at least he isn't dismissive. My daughter wants me to write about puppies and kittens and princesses named Rebecca.

Eliza said...

That... varies. My step-dad is very supportive. My mother... she's an artist herself, and oil painter, and she rarely reads fiction. She's supportive, with the understanding that she won't read my work. My sister won't read any of it either... I spent too much time handing her bits of things that I've written and unfinished projects as a kid, and now she rejects it out of hand. As for my biological father... he's not fond of fantasy written by women.

So there's an aura of understanding and support, but not interest. I have to get test readers for that, because they won't serve.

Anonymous said...

Really you could substitute any hobby-like, artistic endeavor one is not likely to make a living at any time soon for "writing" and have the same thread. e.g. "They put up with my music..." or my painting or my sculpting, model airplane building....whatever. It's all about the love.

Crystal Waring said...

I'm one of the fortunate ones as well. If not for my husband's prompting and purchasing of writing materials I probably wouldn't have picked up another pen. My other family members (parents, sister) think it's 'quaint'. "Aw, it's nice that Crissy thinks she's contributing to the world" type of quaint. Yes, it's insulting to be patronized but these aren't the opinions I hold dear to my heart anyway. When it comes down to it though I'm the one who has to push to get the writing done; so if I'm not happy I'm writing, to put it bluntly, I'm screwed.

Great question, by the way. It got me focused for the morning's work- Thanks.

Robert A Meacham said...

While my family and friends find it interesting that I write and smile upon my profile on amazon, I definately find it necessary to balance writing time with family.

pbmaxca said...

My boyfriend has physical hobbies and doesn't understand that sometimes a mental hobby is just as time consuming as a physical one.

My friends in the past have loved my fanfiction and I can't wait to show them the more mainstream fiction I'm working on now.

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