I’m responding, in part, to Tricia Drammeh’s post, featured at When Your Family Doesn’t Support Your Writing, but mostly to the overwhelming importance of this topic. When it comes to any endeavor, we, as humans, need emotional, personal, and professional support. That’s just who we are. Even introverts engaging in as solitary a passion as writing need someone saying, “Hey, you don’t suck! Keep going!
My heart goes out to Mrs. Drammeh. It’s rough when your loved ones forget that you do what you love, or that making money at it (assuming your family is supported, has food on the table, etc.) isn’t the important part.
Being young, I’m lucky: Most people are kind enough not to say, “Asshole, get a real job,” assuming they know what I do at all. I’ve grown used to not talking about my writing in person due to the age old reactions of, “Really? What are you gonna do writing?” or “You know there’s know money in that, right?” or even “Look out, future starving artist alert!”
In fact, I once dated a girl who, after I told her about my love for writing, made a point to say, “That sounds like a waste of time.” When I asked if she wanted to read some of my work, her response was, “I don’t read.”
“I don’t read” is an infinitely more depressing statement. I could handle writing book after book and not making money, but to hear someone say, offhand, about any and every book in existence, that reading has no appeal, is heartbreaking.
Speaking of heart break, the aforementioned is now an ex girlfriend, in part for that reason.
I was lucky in that I could get away from that negativity, because no writer should have such criticism at the home. Unfortunately, family is often the first to say “Stop” when you want to hear “Go,” and you can’t exactly cut off everyone.
Writing is a beautiful, painstaking art, and it can take years to make it in the field, assuming you have success at all. People will critique you along the way, and they’ll do so when you succeed; whether people hate you, think you’re wasting time, or are just jealous of your passion as a writer, there comes a point where you have to say, “I’m either going to ignore this pain or use it, but like hell is it going to stop me.”