A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.
87. Dealing with people who are unsupportive.
I feel for people with this problem, I really do. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough that it hasn’t been much of an issue for me. I’ve had people in my life who perhaps were disinterested or indifferent about my writing, but rarely have I had to deal with someone who was outright unsupportive. The most important people in my life have always been perfectly supportive of anything that I chose to do (for the most part) with my life, and most people I’ve known have reacted to my writing with polite interest and the occasional, “Good for you!” The most unsupportive people I’ve really had to deal with were the occasional reviewers who critiqued my work based on personal opinion and tastes, which is something that any writer is bound to have to deal with in spades.
Despite the luck I’ve had, however, I’m not naive… I know that there are plenty of writers out there whose families/friends/spouses/etc are monstrously unsupportive. I’ve read blog posts from writers whose significant others scoff at them for “wasting time” on writing. I’ve spoken to fellow NaNo novelists whose families and friends laugh at them for bothering with something so “stupid and pointless”. I’ve heard about school kids whose parents and even teachers have scolded them for bothering to waste their efforts on “useless stories”.
And it’s sad. Writing, like other arts, has a stigma attached to it that basically boils down to, “you ain’t gonna make any money off that, so why bother?” That’s depressing for two reasons. One, that attitude in and of itself is the epitome of being unsupportive because you don’t know if you can make a living off of something until you try – that’s true of anything, not just the arts. Two, even if you’re not interested in making money, the bad attitude suggests that writing is pointless even if it’s just a hobby. Consider that for a moment. If someone works hard all day and then goes golfing during their down time, well that’s their prerogative – it’s their time to do with as they choose. But if someone else works just as hard and then uses their spare time to write, it’s all “what a waste of time” and “why don’t you do something productive?” and “what’s the point of that if you’re not going to make any money off it?”
This is a generalization of course, but it’s something that plenty of writers put on with on a regular basis.
Without any personal experience there isn’t a whole lot I can say about dealing with unsupportive people. My instinct is to say, “cut ’em loose” because people who can’t be supportive of your decisions don’t deserve to be in your life. That becomes sketchy, however, when the unsupportive person is the spouse you love very much, or a parent when you’re a minor under their roof. So I guess the best advice I can give is to understand that there are people out there who are going to be unsupportive of your goals and dreams, and that sometimes you’ll have to put up with them for a while, but you don’t have to listen to them. Stay strong, believe in yourself, and when you become hugely successful you can turn around and laugh in their stupid, unsupportive faces.