4 Tips for Writers Dealing with Unsupportive Family and Friends
Sometimes judgment, instead of charity, begins at home.
You’ve already decided to write.
It’s scary enough to put words on paper (or on a computer screen) and read those words to yourself. You’re already feeling alone, vulnerable and insecure.
You start to think about possible insults, slurs and other negative comments that could come from complete strangers who read your writing.
But what do you do when you share your writing, or your writing plans, with a friend or a relative, and that person insults, laughs at, or simply ignores you?
With friends like these, who needs haters?
When someone who is supposed to love you doesn’t support your writing, it seems to confirm your deepest doubts and fears.
“I knew it!” you might think to yourself. “I can’t write. How can I even imagine being a successful writer, when my own friends and family won’t support me?”
These uncomfortable talks can happen anytime and anywhere. Here are some suggestions for handling some of the ruder questions about your writing from friends and family.
There are also a few important things you should consider before you think about closing the door on your writing dreams, or walking away from a relationship or friendship.
1. You’re not alone.
You are not the first writer in history to have a friend or relative, or even multiple friends and relatives, not support your writing.
There’s a long list of writers, creatives and other professionals who had to deal with unsupportive family and friends while pursuing their dreams. This list includes legendary writer Edgar Allen Poe, late broadcast journalist David Brinkley, and comic book writer Kurt Busiek (who wrote for Marvel Comics’ “The Avengers” series among other popular comic series).
2. Your loved ones’ judgment might come from good intentions.
Sometimes, judgment or criticism is just a convincing disguise for someone’s genuine concern for us.
For example, these worries can be about the subject of your writing.
If we’re writing on a controversial topic, our family or friends might worry about the harsh criticism and insults we could face. Their instinct is to try to warn you and protect you from it.
When this happens, listen to that person’s concerns and then tell him/her that facing challenges such as public criticism, not getting published, financial problems, among other issues while writing is exactly why you need their support.
Also, to help your friends and family help you, share some questions writers love to hear.
3. Phone another friend (or family member).
Almost every family, and group of friends, is a mixture of different personalities.
Usually, some family members or friends will be more supportive than others. Make it a point to schedule some time during your usual week to talk to at least one or two friends and/or family members who are supporting your work.
4. Get out.
Join writers’ groups. Find a local writers’ group that regularly meets in person.
Join one or two online writers’ groups. Many online writers’ groups have Facebook pages.
Not only will you find support, but you will also find answers to your specific writing questions and problems, from dealing with writer’s block to tips for publishing a book.
You might even get advice on how other writers are currently dealing with unsupportive family and friends.
We often think of writing as a solitary activity.
It shouldn’t always be this way.
Most writers sit alone with their computer, laptop and/or notebook when they are actually writing.
But if you want to share that writing with other people, you need to reach out for help and support.
Not everyone is going to jump at the chance to support you.
It hurts to know this, but it’s okay.
Your job is to find the people who will support you.
You might make new friends while doing so.
And you might become even closer to some of your current friends and family members who are ready to support you and your writing.