A few weeks ago my mom stayed for an impromptu dinner at my house. Even though we live fairly close to each other, it’s difficult to get together as much as we’d like with our busy lives and all. When we do get together, there’s a lot of catching up to do. Mostly I talk about my family since taking care of them is where my pride lies. Sometimes I’ll tell her a bit about my work. Oddly enough, even though writing is a huge part of my life and claims an hour or two of my time each day, I never bring it up. I guess I’ve been so trained over the years that my family isn’t really interested. I’m sure you’re no stranger to the lack of eye contact when the topic of your latest story comes up.
But then something wild happened. My mom actually asked me about my writing. She said–and I quote–“So are you working on anything right now?”
At first I was so startled I actually had to stop and think about it. Am I working on anything right now? Well, yes, of course I’m working on something right now. Hurry, thing of something interesting to say!
Once I finally got started, I probably went overboard and scared her. I was just so thrilled that she had asked me about something that means so much to me, yet never feel comfortable enough to bring up myself. I was on a mission to prove to her how much writing meant to me, how much her interest meant to me, and that all the time I spend noveling isn’t some crazy pipe dream.
You see, I can count on three fingers the people in my life who are not writers that actually show interest in my writing life: my husband and two of my close friends. And I suspect my husband only asks because how well my writing went that day is the gauge of what kind of mood I’ll be in for the rest of the night (only half joking). Everyone else in my life seems to be oblivious to the fact that I write, or will give the obligatory “huh” if I happen to slip a writing comment into our conversation.
In a silly moment, I posted on Facebook how shocked I was about my mom’s question and I got an astounding response from other writers who feel the same way. I had always known that we faced this difficulty but what really hit me is how much we’re dying to share this part of our lives. And how deep those little cuts go.
As a writer, I’m always trying to look at the other side, take the other perspective, but sometimes it’s hard to be understanding when I feel like such a big part of me is being ignored. I think we take it so personally because to writers, writing is who we are. If our friends and family don’t acknowledge that part of us, how can they possible know us? I wish I had the answer.
The only answer I’ve ever found is here. With you. On my blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, during NaNoWriMo and with my local writer’s groups. If there’s anyone who “gets” writers, it’s other writers. We can only hope that one day our families will begin to understand how much their support means to us (and hopefully it’s some time before we hit the Bestsellers list). In the meantime, cherish those rare times when they do ask and know that you always have an interested party here.
How do your family and friends react when you talk about your writing? How does it make you feel? Where do you find your support?