The Struggle of Family Opinions as a Writer
Our greatest opponents, our brightest muse
When someone is a part of you, it makes you want to write about them, doesn’t it? Like they’re an inspiration, a muse, the fuel behind that creative fire. That’s exactly what I was exploring in the poem, Part of Me, where the source of my loving inspiration was not a lady (straight man here) but a parent of mine. Hold up.
Don’t writers normally get fired up over some lover or secret romance? Well, that’s how it seems to start;
I want you
To be with me now
Because I neglected our relationship …
I mean, romance is exactly what one would expect from lines like those. But after chasing all the pretty muses one can ideally chase, all roads keep leading back to pleasing one group of folks: the family.
I wrote that poem initially as a soon-to-be adult, a time when life got really hectic. It is for most of us, I mean, it’s a time to grow up, to get serious about work, pick a path, and be responsible. All that stuff is a ton of weight for young people. Add on an extra interest like athletics or arts and the pressure is really on, either to be great at it or to give it up for a “real job.”
Ooh, I think my little inner artist just cringed.
When it came to writing, it was always tricky to navigate sharing with my family. A lot of the content was dark, sexual, violent … all the usual tropes from an emotional teen. Not the usual G-rated family stuff. That aside, I also really cared about the opinions of others, and few mattered more than my dad’s.
This was also a time when my living situation was very strange. Our household stability at the time had been ripped apart. Without getting into the deets, I didn’t know exactly where my parent was living, or if they were living anywhere at all. I’ve constantly worried about the well-being and choices of my own parents. Though they do their best, this added worry can be unnerving for children too.
Teenagers struggle with a lot, “the most,” actually. Sometimes it’s more than we give them credit for. My teens were so traumatic, I still feel like I never grew out of them. A big source of all the mental storms (surprisingly or not) can come from our own households. Parents and close relatives have a huge impact on our personalities, opinions, and choices, even though we don’t like to admit it at the time.
Stressing over what others think is a serious challenge. Some of us writers, the introverted and introspective, are more susceptible to wanting others’ approval. Maybe a sibling always got the attention we wanted. Maybe our interests and hobbies weren’t as cool as those of our friends. No one wants to feel weird for being who they are.
That approval may come, or it may never come. It’s okay to express how we feel about a lack of approval. Earnestly, it may benefit us even more to find approval from within. Then we can write (or make whatever we want to make) without the fear of being laughed at or getting a sad, disappointed headshake.
Some great advice I heard once was to focus on a specific audience because it is them you’re actually writing for. Don’t try to write for everyone in the world, because that, my friend, is impossible.
I can’t always write for my family, and you may not be able to write for those you care about most. Our writing’s not always for them. Our lives aren’t like their lives. And that’s okay. It’s also okay to use the pain they’ve inflicted on us, the joy they’ve provided, and the memories they’ve shared, and create some writing that many will enjoy. The best part is that you’ll feel it, really, right in the chest like good therapy. Art is at its best when it oozes from the heart.
I hope you enjoyed that! Please follow and check out my other stories if you like the style. Oh, and more of Writer’s Blokke, of course. I appreciate you.
Question: Can you relate to struggling with others’ opinions, even that of your family’s?
Thanks for stopping by!