Thursday, April 1, 2010


I've recently noted the responses of people around me who don't write. If they haven't seen me for awhile, they casually ask, "So, how's that novel of yours going?" and I have to fight the urge to dive into a conversation all about my book - far more in depth than these people want to hear, I am sure.

The truth of the matter is, I don't think most people, even most writers, don't care much about all the technical details of your writing, how you arrive at specific plot points, how you outline or fly by the seat of your pants, what you're currently researching. They may act like they really care, but I don't think they do all that much. What most of us want, plain and simple, is to be told a story. And nobody can write your novel as well as you.

As I work on my current work, a novella, I keep wondering why I'm doing this. Publication isn't something I'm really craving at the moment. I just want to write and learn and expand my skills. I think that's why I'm writing, more than anything right now.

And if I stopped?

I often wonder, how would that affect those around me? If people just want stories, there's bookstores and libraries and five million other writers out there cranking them out. My husband and daughter would appreciate more time with me, my family and friends would think it nice that I come to more parties and things they plan.

My question to you today is: How does your writing affect those around you? Does your family take a genuine interest in what you're doing? And do you feel that if you stopped writing they would care much? Does how they feel about your work affect the value you place on it?


Also, please check out my short story contest over on The Innocent Flower. I'm hoping I get more than just a few entries!


  1. I enjoy the full support of my wife and kids in my quest to be published.

  2. My fiance is great about my writing. He's constantly full of encouragement and questions, and actively participates when I'm in the zone.

    I have another friend who's really into it too, and of course all my writer-friends get it. But, I'm fond of saying-- no one else cares about the things in your life as much as you do; rather, they aren't capable of caring as much as you do. And it's true everywhere-- kids, writing, pets, weddings, etc. You're the one who cares the most about yours.

    But-- all that means is that we have to understand when other people don't quite "get it". I try to keep this in mind.

  3. In general, my family and non-writing friends respect that I have had creative hobbies that I spent a lot of time on. But, I don't think those people know exactly how much time and effort I put into it. They wouldn't be particularly hurt if I were to quit. Part of that is my doing too, though. My writing tends to be intimate, and so I'm not always in the mood to share it with people who are close to me. I guess I'm also afraid that they still wouldn't take me seriously, even if they did know how important this was.

  4. I also enjoy the full support of Rick's wife and kids...oh, wait. I don't.

    Mighty Reader demands that I write, because she's a fan, bless her. Though I know sometimes she'd rather we spent the evening together than have me off writing in the next room. Heck, so would I. My friends would like to have lunch with me more often and they wish I didn't spend my lunch hours writing novels. They ask politely after my writing, but if I quit now it would not matter to most of them. I expect that only a small handful of my closest friends would even buy my books.

    "I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best." --Flannery O'Connor

    I wrote badly for years with nobody caring that I wrote or wanting to read what I wrote. I write better now and am beginning to see the rewards of that effort. Why would I stop writing now, even if I could?

  5. Most of my writing seems to slightly embarass friends and family. They want to be supportive in a general sense, but once they hear the specifics they become uncomfortable.

  6. Rick: That's fantastic! Of course, you are publishing a children's book as well, right? That's got to help with the children's support. I think my daughter wishes I'd write and illustrate books for her. Maybe I should...

    L.T.: We really do have to understand when other people don't "get it." It can be a great source of frustration for me, but I keep plowing along hoping it pays off a bit in the end when I can hand them an actual published copy of my book.

    Davin: I don't think anyone but other writers can truly understand what kind of time and effort - both physically and emotionally - that it takes to write something as huge as a novel. I've found through life that it doesn't matter what creative endeavor I take on - there will always people close to me who don't understand its full implications in my life.

    Scott: It's great that Might Reader is a huge fan of yours. I do have a few non-writer friends who truly seem to be fans of my writing - they actually like it, and not because I wrote it. That's always a good feeling.

    I don't think writing is the thing I do best, but it's at least something I excel at, so O'Connor has a great point there.

    I'm happy you're seeing results. You can definitely count as a true fan. Even if I didn't know you, I'd buy your work. I would even stand in line for it!

    Loren: I have a few close people that I'm scared to hand my writing to because I think it would embarrass them. That's never a good feeling. At least you know your work is eliciting a emotional strong response, which is maybe what you want.

  7. I think about this all the time. Two things work to my advantage. The first is that in my previous life, I spent all my time practicing the piano, another pursuit that makes no sense to most people. At least now I am quieter!

    Two, I try very, very hard not to write when the kids are around, except during weekends and I tell them a need a couple of hours. Hopefully they are not spending most of their home time wishing Mom wasn't typing on the computer/

    Would they be happy if I stopped? Only if I am a contented person who will spend all the extra time doing what they want me to do.

  8. My husband and writing group are very supportive.

    Apart from them, I keep my noveling habit quiet. I acknowledge that I'm doing it but don't give any details unless asked directly. Some people don't care, some don't understand, and some get pissed if I cancel plans for something I don't "have" to do.

    I used to be much more uncertain about the value of my writing, but I'm now in a place where I feel completely OK with spending time and energy on it, because it is what I want to do. I think the support of my writing partners and husband have been a large part of that. I feel confident about what I'm doing, so I feel less pressure to explain myself to others.

  9. My family and close friends are supportive of my writing, and really enjoy hearing what I'm working on. Others, though, don't consider it "work" and tend to make statements about how I'm so lucky I can stay home with the kids (which, admittedly, I am). But they assume that because I do, my writing isn't "work" or a serious endeavor.

  10. Yat-Yee: Ah, I have things in my "previous life" that never worked out. I used to play the clarinet, and I was serious about it for a long time, but no so much anymore. I also do photography, but people seem to understand that endeavor a little more than writing. Probably because I can make immediate money off of it. Go figure.

    I like the end of your comment, especially. I think it matters if WE are content, and I don't think I'd be content ignoring my writing.

    Genie: I like that you keep it quiet. I wish I could do that. I've been trying to keep it more quiet around my friends and family lately. I just feel like they don't care much, but maybe that's because they finally see that this is a very LONG endeavor, and to keep asking me about it is pointless

    Being confident about what we're doing makes a huge impact on the work itself, I think. I long for the day that I don't feel pressured to explain myself, though.

    Anjali: I get very frustrated when I feel like I'm being judged for just "playing" all the time with my writing. It really is work to me, and it's hard to explain that to people who think of only a desk job or construction work or whatever as real "work."

  11. Also have the full support of my partner in crime who wants me to success in making a career in publishing and who has also accepts that I spend too much time with my computer sometimes. My mother is super supportive too. My friends outside of the writing community don't really think it's anything more than a hobby. Once when I told a friend that I'd spend most of the day writing, she laughed and said 'you're really into that stuff, aren't you?" Well, hell yeah, I am.

  12. I'm positive that although my wife and kids support me, they'd be happy if I stopped writing. We're just a really close family, and I know the sacrifices they go through so that I can be writing. Most of it is time spent without me.

    My friends and co-workers (for the most part) probably don't care either way. I'm sure for them, since I don't have a published book yet, I'm not really a writer.

    I would like to get published some day, but my focus right now is learning to write well. I want to be able to offer up excerpts of my stuff to all of my writer friends and have them oooh and ahhh. More importantly, I want to consistently sit back and bask in the glow of my own skill...even if it is just for a short moment.

  13. My son is too young to know what I do during his naptime. My husband has his own creative hobby (photography), so I let him go to workshops and tag along on some of his shoots. In return, he watches our son on occasion when I want to write without being disturbed. My husband isn't much of a fiction reader, though, so I don't tell him much about my work or show it to him.

    If anything, I would have to say there were times in my life where I felt the immediate people around me didn't understand me (like my parents), so that motivated me to write and reach out to other people more on my wavelength.

  14. Crimey: I'm laughing very hard about the end of your comment. I've had so many people give me that look ... like WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? They are usually the ones who hated English and think writing is a chore. If only they knew...

    Eric: Yes, I get that about your coworkers thinking you're not really a writer. That's so frustrating! I'm like you in the fact that I'm mostly working on my skill right now, and enjoying it immensely. Publication will happen one day.

    Sandra: I'm not sure my parents really understand what I'm doing, even though they both enjoy reading a lot. I'm not sure it will sink in until I hand them a published book. I could be completely wrong, though. They might just not be communicating what they understand. Who knows.

  15. When I’m not writing, my husband has cause for concern—he knows I’ll slip into a slump if I don’t at least start a painting. But he knows that there’s nothing quite like the mental stimuli that writing provides. I believe he thinks I’m a more interesting—yes, happier—person to be around when I write. Guess it’s time to get back at it...

  16. My husband is very supportive. In fact he encourages me to write, when he see's that I'm not writing as much. He finally read part of my last wip and wants me to finish it so he can read the rest. He'd like to see my book or books get published someday and is encouraging me to find an agent.

  17. My family is supportive of my writing, but I think they are most curious about what I do all day! And when I say I'm on the third draft of a story, their response is often a bewildered look of, "well how many drafts does a story need?" They think what I'm doing is great, they're just puzzled by the fact that it really takes a lot of time. My husband is my key champion, and pushes me when I get frustrated or stuck in a rut, which is wonderful support to have.

  18. My husband would kill me if I quit writing. He believes in me even when I doubt myself. As for being involved, he's my sounding board. My kids probably wouldn't care so much one way or the other, but my olderst son likes to draw my characters so he might miss it a little. Interesting topic.

  19. Most people who know me understand that the manic-depression they see now would be all depression if I stopped writing.

    But, unless something overt is happening (new novel coming out or an event), they are too far removed from it to see any cause an effect between what I'm doing at any given moment and a book they might not see for a year or so.


  20. My wife think my writing is a total waste of time. Although she writes poetry herself.
    I have one historical novel published and about 30 others in various states of progress.

    I have to say I write for myself and I was quite surprised at some of the feedback I have had from the people who have read the one novel I have published.
    I have to admit I enjoy the research and the actual writing. It’s getting down what I want to say in text that is important to me.
    I don’t think it will ever be a profession for me but if others enjoy what I have written then that’s a bonus.
    As a way of making money it is not very cost effective and the time spent is massive when you consider the returns.

  21. JB: Hehe, well I hope you get back into it soon! It's nice when something creative can make our lives happier. :)

    Robin: Your husband sounds wonderful! My husband is pretty supportive. He's an actor and understands that need for creativity.

    Lisa: Hahah! Yeah, people don't understand how difficult and complex a novel usually is, and how much work it takes!

    Tara: Your son draws your characters! How fantastic! Wish I had a personal illustrator. Keep at it and don't let your husband kill you. ;)

    Sun: Yeah, I think I would sink into some pretty heavy depression if I stopped writing. So keep it up! I think many of us just need that creative release.

    Edward: Aww, that's sad that your wife doesn't support you much in that. I agree that writing is not cost effective, but many creative things aren't, in my opinion. Writing, for me, is sometimes a very selfish and time-consuming hobby that others around me learn to accept. I'll go see if I can find your historical novel. :)

  22. The nice thing about writing in public via my serial blog novels is that I know at least four people would be sad if I stopped. LOL Those are the writer/readers who every time I lament that I might not have time to get the next chapter done, beg me to do it anyway. I have no idea how many others read & never comment, or if that's all there is - but it's a good feeling, nonetheless.

    My husband is supportive, though he gets tired of going to bed alone much of the time while I'm up writing. I suspect he'll be more forgiving of that if I ever start selling.

    And I keep my writing quiet from my family/co-workers, after a few months of the constant "when are you going to be published" questions. I understand that they don't understand...and rather than go through the back and forth, I'll just keep it quiet until my book is about to come out. It will save both them and me much frustration.

  23. My husband was at first mystified by this thing that pulled his wife away for hours and hours, especially since it wasn't an activity that paid any money. Over time, he has come to appreciate that this is something that feeds my happiness, and a happy wife? Makes a happy husband. His point of view is shared by most of my nonwriter friends who, while supportive, gaze at me with a somewhat mystified look, not quite understanding the compulsion. They are the first to congratulate me though when I get an acceptance or win a contest (thank you Literary Lab). I am sure that if I ever get my novels published they will found my first fan club. :-)

  24. Jamie: Hey, that is cool about your serial novel! I'll have to check that out. Do I need an invite or anything?

    And yes, the constant publishing questions do get very tiring. It's difficult to explain how much time and impossible it can be.

    Judith: That is really awesome you have that support! I do have a lot of support from close friends and family, too. It's nice to know that no matter what happens, I'll have a small group to read my work. :)


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