Unfortunately, families are not always supportive of what we choose as a profession. Certain careers-such as writing-aren’t known for stability or income, and although they are simply trying to do what’s best, it can be frustrating when your family doesn’t understand why you want to be a writer. My mother still can’t get over the fact that I left a successful law practice to write, and I’m thirty-three years old.
If you are having trouble making your family understand why you want to be a writer, there are a few things you can do to help. While you can’t make everyone happy-it’s a statistical impossibility-you can make the news go down a little smoother. Being a writer doesn’t necessarily doom you to a life of ramen noodles and studio apartments; plenty of people make a successful living by writing.
Show Off Your Skills
If your family doesn’t understand why you want to be a writer, help them to grasp the fact that you have talent. Show them pieces of your work-preferably published clips, if you have them-and let them decide for themselves if you have a special affinity for writing. It’s possible that your family is having trouble understanding why you want to be a writer because they don’t recognize your talent.
Come Up With a Plan
Most careers have a “plan” already mapped out for the professional: You go to school, interview for jobs and work toward promotions. As a writer, however, you make your own plan, which might not sit very well with your family. So ease their fears and come up with a strategy for making a living as a writer. Decide what kind of writer you want to be, how you’ll market your work and a timeline.
When your family doesn’t understand why you want to be a writer, you’ve got to show them how excited you are. No parent, aunt, grandfather or cousin wants to rain on a loved one’s parade. When you talk about your newfound writing career, show as much enthusiasm as possible and try to get them pumped about it, as well. Show them that writing is your passion, and that you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t go for it.
A Day in the Life…
Invite your family over to your house to see how you work. If they don’t understand your writing career, it may be because they don’t realize how much work is involved. Writers starting out don’t just sit down at the keyboard and bang out the Great American Novel; it takes years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Have your family watch while you work and show them the projects you’re working on.
Get Them Involved
At ever opportunity, call your family members to give them progress reports. Tell them about the magazine article you sold or the literary agent who’s interested in your book. You don’t need to submit a work schedule or show them your bank statements to let them know you’re making money, but make them a part of his wonderful decision.
Realize You Can’t Please Everyone
I mentioned this above, and it’s the truth. Unfortunately, everyone is not going to understand why you want to be a writer and you might have to put up with snide comments for a while. Don’t allow your family to discourage you, however, because after all, this is your life.
Years down the road, when you’re a well-known writer, you can show your family that you made the right decision. For now, however, just keep plugging along and hope that everything turns out for the best.