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Friday, May 1, 2020

How Do Writers Deal with the Pain of Non-Supportive People in Their Lives?

If writing is really in your blood, you manage to keep writing, regardless.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Becoming an online article writer is sometimes the catalyst that leads to a new writer finally deciding to try and become an author. 

For either of these endeavors, it helps to have a support system in place. At best, they can help promote and market your work. At the least, you'll have someone to act as a cheering squad. 

This post contains my personal story about what happens if you don't have either types of support.

Benefits of Writing Support

Having supportive people behind you when you're a writer can mean the world to you, but it can also benefit you in another way.

Everyone knows what a great form of marketing word-of-mouth can be, even when it’s confined to just a small group. 

That is why writers who have a support system around them can end up gaining more visibility for their work than those writers and authors who don’t. 

You know how it goes, “…you tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on…”

But what if you don't have two friends who will actually tell two friends...?  What do you do when you're trying desperately to be a writer but you have no support system? 

A Lonely Writing Life

All I can do is imagine how it must feel to have a great support system in your writing life. 

But I know exactly how it feels not to have one. Your writing life will be all the more difficult and lonely.

For as long as I’ve been writing, I’ve had to accept the fact that when it comes to belief in my abilities to succeed as a writer and author, my own support system is non-existent.

Lack of Family Support

I’ve been a freelance writer for a lot of years, more than 20 to be precise, During all that time, I’ve been writing and sharing my work in various public forums, mostly online. 

In all those years, I’ve tried to enlist the support of my family and any friends I had at the time; not just once, but on numerous occasions. To this day, I still haven’t been successful.

No one has ever bothered to check out anything that I’ve written, and this is my immediate family I'm talking about. They're the ones who are supposed to really care.

Why no one could ever find the time has always been a mystery to me, particularly since I'm so supportive of everyone else.
Whenever I felt enthusiastic about a project, no one cared to hear it. 

That really bummed me out! I almost forgave them for not reading my online articles, but I mistakenly thought things would be different when I started self-publishing ebooks. 

Why wouldn’t they? “I’m a bonafide author now,” was the way I saw it. That gave me clout, right? Wrong. No one cared.

Doubting Your Writing Abilities

Not having people you care about support you as a writer can sometimes cause you to start doubting your writing abilities. 

I began to second-guess and belittle my own accomplishments. I told myself that my ebooks weren't that big a deal anyway. 

So I went a step further. I wrote and completed my very first novel “Experimenting with Murder,” (a book I just recently rewrote this year and released under a new title and pen name). 

I had such high hopes for the success of this book, even though later on, I realized how many blunders I made with that first novel.

More than anything, I expected my older sister to read it and tell me what she thought. I hoped she'd finally read something I wrote and see that I was actually a pretty good writer. 

She loves to read or listen to audio books. Being retired and home bound gives her the time to be a voracious reader, so she literally reads everything! Everything but what I write.

If nothing else, I expected her to read it and give me lots of negative, but constructive criticism. I was wrong. She never even laid eyes on it. Not her, or the other two avid readers in the house.

Seriously, you would think that at least one of the 3 would have bothered to crack open my very first novel, but no one did. 

Clearly this would start to give anyone a complex, so for a short period, it caused me to question my own writing abilities, even though that made absolutely no sense. 

It wasn’t as if anyone had read what I wrote and decided it wasn’t worthwhile. Instead, they came to that conclusion with nothing to base it on. Now thathurt! 

Asking for Support

I didn't beat around the bush when I told them about the book. I actually came out and asked them point blank, even though I was a bit timid at first. 
I didn’t understand why I should have to ask them in the first place, after I had made such a big announcement letting everyone know when the book was released.

I blasted an email to everyone I know, but apparently no one even looked at it. If any of my folks or friends read it, they never said and I never knew.

I didn’t get pushy about making anyone tell me if they read the .pdf version that I blasted in the email. I didn’t bother to check up on the status of the few gift copies I sent out. 

I didn’t even insist that anyone buy the book on Amazon, though I did emphasize my need for feedback and/or book reviews. 

When no one bothered to respond in any way, fashion, shape or form, I never even said anything. I just kept my disappointment to myself and held it all in.

Pride in Writing Accomplishments

No matter how wounded you feel when you don't have or get the support you need, you have to keep writing. You'll get to a place where just having pride in your self will be enough.

There have been times when I've heard my sister talk on the phone for fifteen minutes to the cable representative, not about our cable bill, but about some book she was reading. 

Could I also use that kind of support and word-of-mouth marketing? Most definitely. I know my books would have received more visibility, with the help of a support system.

For a long, it hurt to think that my family could be so disinterested in my writing, or that my sister could be so insensitive about it. 

All of them seemed to be oblivious to what I was feeling. But eventually, over time, it stopped mattering to me as much. 

I had to learn how to take pride in my own writing accomplishments, and let that be enough.

Truth about Lacking Support

Sharing my truth about my lack of support is something that I have been wanting to get off my chest for a long time, even though I thought I was surely over it by now. 
As a result of my crash course in self-pride, I managed to publish a second novel (Skipping Childhood).

This book accidentally turned into a mixture of fiction and memoir writing, although I didn’t really plan it that way. My plan was to wait and write my memoirs much later in life..

After Skipping Childhood, I self-published another novel called Lights Out at the Moulin Rouge, and more recently, a novella. The novella (mentioned above) is a fantasy story, written under a new pen name). With all these writing accomplishments, II still lack support from my family, but I'm okay.

I can’t lie; I resent the situation and probably feel a little sorry for myself, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing. 

To substitute for the support that I lack from family and friends, I constantly look for ways to express self-pride and pat myself on the back for a job well done. After all, if I don't who will?

In summary, here's the take-away from my personal experience. It doesn't matter 

  • Whether you’re a new or existing writer, 

  • Whether you’re brave enough to write your own truth, or whether you’re writing someone else’s truth: 

  • Whether you write about mermaids, or whether you write non-fiction:

YOU can succeed and reach your goals! You can do it, and you can even manage to pull it off without the support of those who care (or say they care).

Don’t stop loving them, but don’t keep wasting energy hoping that they will see just how creative and talented you are. 

The Bible says that a prophet is not well-received in his own town (or something to that affect). 

It’s too bad that the people closest to us are sometimes the last to give us applause, but never let that stop you. Just take a moment and applaud yourself. YAY ME!!!