Thursday, July 10, 2014

Writing - Not for the Faint of Heart

Writing as a career is a tough business. And if you think your family will coddle you, well, um, you might be in for some surprises. Some family members might read everything you write and support you no matter what - I have a couple of those in my life. But just because you're closely related, doesn't mean everyone will support your endeavors, enjoy your work, or even pretend to. A fact that just makes the writing life more interesting and gives you fodder for those characters you adore writing so much.

Most of my family don't bother to buy my books, much less read them (Not the hubs, of course - he reads everything I write because he's awesome). =) But when three close relatives finally told me they'd read my very first award-winning book, I expected, at the very least, polite, noncommittal and generic comments - "I liked it" or "It was good" - something along those lines. Instead, one just turned her head away and never actually committed to even finishing the book. Another said, "I found some typos" and proceeded to chat with another relative who was in the room. The third one frowned and uttered, "It's not my kind of book" then promptly walked away from me, giving me a nice long look at the back of her head as she retreated. As far as I know, these three relatives never read anything else penned by me, so I suspect I didn't make lifelong fans of them.

Was I distraught or livid? No. I worked in Hollywood for many years so I'm programmed to set aside rejection and move on to the next project. Was I disappointed? Sure. Even as adults, we hope our families will love our work, or at least offer supporting comments if they don't. But my disappointment didn't last long and I have to admit, these comments actually amuse me. They also reminded me that I was writing because I love it and not because I hope my relatives support my pocketbook and my ego by buying and cooing over everything I do. No matter who you are, how many awards you receive, or how many times some people tell you they love your work, there will always be someone who surprises the hell out of you. In my case, the someones just happen to share a whole lot of my DNA.

While the comments I received might sound harsh coming from family, I can assure you they're not unusual. I have spoken to many writers with similar experiences, so if you're looking for a career that coddles you, makes everyone an adoring fan, and pays you a boatload of money, writing is probably not for you. If you just can't help yourself and you have to write because your head will explode if you don't get all those ideas and worlds out of it and into a cohesive format, then writing sounds like the perfect career for you. Just remember to write because you love it, not because you're trying to attract a world of adoring fans. Although, that's probably a pretty good gig if you can get it. =)


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