Thursday, February 23, 2012

Friends and Family: Do they support your writing?

I have seen so many status updates from fellow writers upset that they lack support from friends and/or family. Time and again I am heartbroken for them. I understand that the genres might not sit too well with a lot of people, but surely, as people who claim to love you, shouldn't they at least provide token support? They don't have to read the books if the genre and subject makes them uncomfortable, but is it too much to ask that they say "Well, although it isn't to my taste, I'm pleased that you have found something you enjoy doing and I wish you success with it"? Is it really too much to ask that?

We all say that we're supportive of our friends and family, but when it comes to topics that society thinks is taboo, or something that makes us personally uncomfortable it seems most people are willing to degrade each other and try to get them to quit it. At certain times trying to get someone to quit something is acceptable: ie a drug addicted family member, someone with a gambling problem etc. Things that cause financial/health issues. That is fine. I'm not calling that in to question here. I'm talking about support for hobbies/jobs that make the person happy and yet people around them are uncomfortable about. 

I consider myself lucky that those who know I write erotica and romance do support it. My dear other half isn't much of a reader so I don't expect him to read everything I write, but if I'm stuck we'll often bounce ideas off each other until I find a path that works for the story. My family has expressed real interest in buying my work when it is published (a few months off yet, but it's coming!) and my mother has said that it's a pity it's only in digital format (they're reluctant to get the internet, though maybe my sisters and I should consider splitting costs for an e-reader for her birthday...), and my friends love what I've allowed them to read so far, so I find it hard to grasp the concept of non-supportive people. But I know they exist.

To these people out there who are having trouble accepting that someone in your family is doing something you're uncomfortable about (ie writing "smut"), know this: As long as they aren't causing any actual harm to anyone (they don't allow their kids to know until they're old enough to handle it, and they don't make their kids read it or anything like that, so don't claim it's not good for the kids!), then there is no harm. They're doing something they love, bringing in a little extra cash (or in some cases it is their job, and main source of income), and it wouldn't hurt for you to just say to them that, although it isn't something you would read, you are happy for them that they are doing something they love. It won't cost you ANYTHING and it will mean A LOT to them. And if you don't want them talking details about it to you, let them know there are boundaries, and they will respect it. Just let them know you are happy for them to be doing something they enjoy. It isn't that hard!

If anyone is willing to post personal experiences, The Phoenix would love to hear about it. Change names or leave the comment anonymously if you'd prefer. But I'd like to hear from all sides: the writers, those who support them and those who are having trouble supporting them!


  1. Thank you....I know that some of my family still haven't come to grips with the fact that I am a published writer. Even though yeah I do get comments such as "great cover" "so proud of you" and such, I have yet to feel like they actually care that I have accomplished so much with my writing. I even have tried to get my father's family to at least seek some sort of recognition from them since we are so estranged, I rarely talk to them much since they refuse to call or talk to me. I have never gotten that recognition from them since last year in November when my 1st story was published.

    I just keep doing what I am doing because I honestly enjoy writing, its been a passion of mine for years to become a writer and I have done it. If they don't support me in what I do, then that's just them, I can't make them do something that obviously they don't want to do. All I know is this, I've done something that most people can say that they've never done....become a writer.

  2. You're most welcome, and good on you, Jamallah. For some, support and acceptance is just a bonus. Good on you for doing it for you. That is what I'm doing as well, but I'm thrilled to have the support behind me.
    It is always nice to have some support, whether it be personally or professionally. I wish you the best of luck with future work!

  3. It's a fine line, but, my family has been supportive so far. I admit, I do consider the feelings of my children and husband before I write certain scenes. Although my youngest child doesn't read the majority of my work, the other kids could and I don't want to embarrass them. Part of the issue is that I do not write under a pseudonym, so, I remember that a well.
    Jamallah, I hope you receive some support eventually, I know it must be tough.
    Phoenix, thank you for a thought provoking post.

  4. I am lucky to have my family behind me completely. They may never read the genre I write but they still support me. I had my first every story release yesterday, and Erotic MMF short. My siblings sent me flowers as a congratulations. They just want me to be happy and successful. I use a pen name to protect them and the younger ones in the family. I have author friends who don't get that kind of support and is a shame.

    Thanks for the awesome post.

  5. Davee, I do write under a pseudonym, so I admire your courage at using your real name!

    Michelle, good on you, as I say in the post, those of us who are parents do take our children in to consideration and do our best to not let them be affected by our writing. I'm glad that your siblings are very supportive, and it doesn't matter if they won't read it, it's the acceptance that it is what makes YOU happy that is what matters.

    Congrats on both of you for the support you have, and a big congrats to you, Michelle, for your first release yesterday. I still have a few months to wait for mine, and the excitement just keeps building!

  6. Like Davee, I use my real name. Living in a very small town, this can create issues amongst the natives but I have no fear of that. I am quite proud of what I write, how I write it and do NOT hide in shame.

    Recently I did have a 'tiff' with the spouse about my writing. Not about what I write or what genre- he's the first to read anything and everything I write. His biggest *b*tch* was why do I write blogs, do all this free is benefitting my career, etc, etc. Well, I did dublty remind him... all this leads to more advancement. Would I have gotten that USA TODAY writing assignment of the editor at USA TODAY hadn't gone to my blog to see my writing style and humor? Would I not have publishers emailing requesting I write for them? The reasons went on for quite a while here.

    My career is a business, just like his business, and I have to market myself. So if writing "free" blogs is the way I progress, then so be it. I know this industry inside and out and I know what is necessary- he does not. Apology was made, accepted and I have moved on.

    Great blog

  7. Well done, Dawne. It's fantastic to see someone doing so much and getting so much in return. It goes to show you work hard and you'll see the results! Gotta get that name out there, and then they'll be bashing on YOUR door instead of you making the requests.
    Well done, you're one of those authors the rest of us can look up to, and be inspired by!