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Dreamkillers & Naysayers

By On Jan 29 2011, 9:00 am

I've been doing a lot of introspection lately about writing. I told myself this year would be different for me. I would try harder to focus on the writing and, most of all, to participate in the groups to which I pay annual dues. There are a lot of other things on my list, but I don't have the time or space to post them here. ;)

There was a recent discussion in one of those groups that talked about the worst writing advice they ever got. But what it evolved into was a discussion about how people in their lives did their best to kill their dreams. I began to wonder why that was. Why do people (some who hardly know us and some who we've known since birth) feel it necessary to tell us we're wasting our time if we want to write books for a living?

I think it's funny how the people we love most tend to be the ones to tell us how "hard it is to get published" and how we'll "never make money" writing books. And that not everyone can be Nora Roberts, JK Rowling or Stephen King. Well, duh, but don't I get a fair shake at making an attempt?

I think so.

I couldn't help but think how sad it was our family and/or spouses are these people who are supposed to love us and support us in everything we do would be such dreamkillers and naysayers. It's like someone said – maybe thay had a dream once and didn't go after it; they gave it up; and now they don't want anyone else to succeed with theirs.

I could tell you about my own experience in a past life but if you're a writer, you've probably already experienced it. I like to chalk it up to the fact that this person was afraid I might be more successful one in the long run and viewed it as a threat. Therefore, when I announced I would like to join a professional writing organization, I got laughed at.

It's no wonder writers are reclusive. We try to talk about our work and people look at us as if we've grown a third head. Or they snicker and think we're silly. (Of course I use the term "we" collectively here…). Being rejected by editors and agents is expected. Being rejected by our loved ones isn't and it hurts. We find solace and companionship in those who are like us, they understand us and the need to create and learn and grow and be published.

Isn't it funny how everyone thinks they can write a book, too? But not everyone will ever try it nor will they succeed at crossing the finish like (typing "the end"). It's the only career I can think of where we hinge our hopes on one yes.

I'm fortunate now that I have someone who supports me 100 percent of the way. Even if he doesn't totally understand how the business works, he does get that it's something I want to do and he pushes me toward the ultimate goal. He's genuinely interested in what I'm working on, shares the ups and downs of submitting.

And what I learned from the entire discussion? We're writers and when someone tell us we can't do something, we put our crest up, puff out our chests and say, "Oh yeah? Watch this!"


4 Responses to “Dreamkillers & Naysayers”

  1. Maria says:

    I would like to think that when some of our loved ones discourage us, they are trying to protect us from what they perceive as inevitable disappointment. I believe (mine, at least) mean well. It doesn’t help that they don’t understand why anyone would want to read a romance, much less write one. They smile and nod and (figuratively) pat my head and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice?” But they don’t read anything I write. And they don’t believe in my success.

    Fortunately, my husband and enough of my friends and family genuinely enjoy (and critique) my stories that I feel sufficiently supported. I’d write anyway, of course. My husband says he loves being around me when I’m deep into a story (even though it means frozen pizzas and a filthy house). He likes the kind of energy I exude. Me too.

    I know I’m very lucky. I can’t help but think if more writers had the kind of support that I do (not that it’s all-encompassing by any means), they’d take more risks, come up with fresher ideas and have more fun. They’d work at it more, improve more and inevitably be more successful.

    If your life doesn’t provide you with people that can do that for you, by all means, go find some!

  2. Sami says:

    Great post Michelle. There are always a few naysayers. In my case it tends to come in the form of disdain at romance itself, and hints that I should try my hand at a ‘real’ book! As writers we learn to cope and use it to fuel our determination to succeed–at whatever type of book we want to write. It is important, though, to have at least one or two people who get what you’re trying to do and appreciate it. I’m lucky to have that–and so are you. Keep up the writing!

  3. roruna says:

    I’m fortunate enough not to have a problem with naysayers or dream killers, except for the ones in my own head but I think that might be a different problem all together.

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