How is your support system?

February 6, 2007 | Karin's Blog | 31 comments

This question was posed on a loop I frequent. I’m always amazed at the spectrum of responses. They vary from “I get no support, not from my husband, not from my family, not from my friends, all I get is smart ass digs,” to “My husband is so supportive he reads my romance stories and even crits them!”

While my husband is my most ardent supporter (if you don’t include my mom, mother-in-law, dad, father-in-law, my brother and his wife, my aunt and her boyfriend and my kids [except for number one son who thinks I write porn]) I can’t say I have had one naysayer, at least not to my face. I’m sure they are out there, but ya know what? They aren’t happy people to begin with so their opinion matters not.

I have heard from many writers how their husbands only perk up when they sell. Or a mom who tells her grown daughter what she writes is vile and she’s embarrassed by her. I’ve heard of authors whose family members have insisted they write under a pseudonym so as not to bring shame on the family. I’ve heard of husbands openly sabotaging their wife’s passion, and then those other more subtle sabotage methods. Like the minute she sits down t write it’s of paramount importance to know what is for dinner. Or how friends and relatives will call to chat and when they ask what the writer is doing, and when given the answer, “I’m writing,” the caller says, “Oh then you’re not busy” then proceeds to go into full conversation mode.
Bottom line for many writers is their chosen field is either not taken seriously and thusly pushed aside and ignored and disrespected or it is taken seriously and hubby feels threatened that wifey will somehow no longer be under his control and that cannot happen! No, siree bub! Then there are those who do have unconditional support.

So, it occurred to me as I commented that one reason my family has always taken my writing seriously is because I do. I have never made it less. I don’t make excuses and ask permission to do it, I just do it. There has never been a question in my mind that what I do is worthy, and so my family believes the same thing. I would never squash their dreams. They don’t squash mine.

The same rules apply when I am out and about and meet a new person. When they ask me what I do, I respond, “I’m a writer.”
“Oh, really? What do you write?”
“Romance,” I answer. Now I could say women’s fiction, but you now what? I have never ever had anyone scoff or laugh at my answerer. At least not to my face. In fact, it has been the complete opposite. Oh, I have had one or two acquaintances call over to me in a restaurant or while out shopping and introduce me to their friend. “This is my friend, Karin Tabke, she writes smut.”

Sigh. I just smile and watch in pleasure as the person’s eyes light up. “Where can I get your book?” is the usual follow up.
“At any bookstore or online,” I answer. Then off I go.

I don’t stammer, or hem and haw. I stand straight and proud, confident, and that is how I am perceived. Of course everyone thinks I’m a millionaire because of my book sales. I allow them to continue to think that.

I’ve worked very hard toward my dream of publication, and there isn’t anyone out there who could possibly make me feel less of a writer because I happen to write romance or write at all.

How about you? Do you get the support you need from the people you care about most? And if not, what do you do to deal with it?



  1. Debbie Dunn

    I am lucky to have a great support system. My whole extended family believes in what I am doing, that I’m good at it, and eventually, with perseverance, will get published. My husband doesn’t read my stuff (but he only reads the daily paper) and that bums me out, but he’ll listen to me if I read him a passage I enjoyed writing.
    My kids are good. Except my teenage son who begged me not to leave my *used* paper in the printer as his English teacher wouldn’t be too happy with the sex scene on the back of his homework! LOL!
    Even acquaintances are looking forward to my first *smut* book to be available in stores. All in all. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

  2. Karin

    Debbie, you are a lucky girl! Try not to be too upset hubby isn’t interested in reading your work. My guy is great, but he doesn’t even like going to chick flicks so how can I expect him to tolerate what I write? I can see him rolling his eyes now. I don’t take it personally. It’s a guy thang, and I get guy thangs. He is a great plotting partner though. Now the man can come up with some damn good twisty-turny murder plots.

  3. Cheryel Hutton

    I have support from my husband and my (grown) daughters–well, usually anyway. But my mother has never been supportive–not only in regard to my writing, but pretty much anything else I’ve ever done. It’s hard to get past that kind of putdown, and I seriously believe this is the reason I came to the actual publishing portion of the program at such a late date.

    But hey, as a famous woman once said, it’s “my turn.” 🙂

  4. Karin

    Cheryel, I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s lack of support. You aren’t the first person I’ve heard this from. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine not supporting any of my children in their endeavors. Of course if one of them said they wanted to run off to Hollywood and become a movie star, I would have a heart attack. Not because I didn’t think they couldn’t pull it off, but I’d hate to see them become a victim of that machine.

    I’m glad to see you have moved on. It’s really all any of us can do.

  5. Marion Gillespie

    Hi Karin and everyone-I have a wonderful support system-from my husband and three teenagers to friends at work. I confide my passion for writing only to a chosen few and I’ve picked well. I don’t like negative people. At all. I tend to stay as far away from them as I can. I love to write, it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember and no one is going to stop me from doing that.

    Someone once asked me if I knew I’d never sell anything, would I stop writing? NO. A big, fat NO. I write because I love it. One day I hope to publish and that’s the goal I keep in sight. I’ve won or placed in a number of contests and that’s just the biggest thrill for me. The way I see it, I’m half way to being pubbed. 🙂

    I hope you all write because it’s something you love to do and don’t let someone who’s negative stop you. Marion

  6. B.E. Sanderson

    My husband has always been my biggest supporter, and my pushiest coach and my toughest critic. He only has one condition – that I write the best work I can write. Also, my daughter can’t wait to read my books. She’s not much help yet in the realm of beta reading, but she’s very supportive. I’m training her to proof for me when she gets older. ;o)

    I can’t imagine what writing would be like if they weren’t supportive. =o(

  7. Karin

    Marion, although I have my moments when I want to throw my hands up in the air and walk away, I regroup. My frustration doesn’t come from the writing aspect, but all of the crap that goes with it.

    B.E. you are blessed! I love the entire family affair feeling.

  8. J. Carson Black

    My husband is wonderful. He’s always been there–he believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes. My mom is also very supportive. Plus, I have my good friends, MP and Chilly. I feel blessed, too! It’s the friends and family, not the masses, who matter. (Not that there are a lot of masses, but I figure there’s always tomorrow!)

  9. spyscribbler

    Would it be totally cheesy if I tell you how awesome my DH is? First, there’s the little things, like bringing me contract to sign and then mailing them off. Taking care of our lives’ details so I can focus on my writing and business. Doing lots of the cleaning.

    Then, when something special happens (like first sale under my real name), he copied the check and framed it along with the letter. Finally, and best of all, he goes with me to Borders and does his reading, working, or studying while I write. Even when I pull 12 hour days!

    Isn’t he awesome? I feel like such a lucky girl!

  10. Tracey

    I’m going to be cheesy like Spyscribbler. My DH is the best. When I first started writing he said he wouldn’t read it because he doesn’t like romance or vampires (and I am writing both). But the sweetheart read it all for me when I needed someone to go over it and pick up mistakes. He is a house husband so he does the housework while I work then write and reminds that I should get in and do some writing when I’m being slack.
    As for my Mum ““ she lives in a small town of 150 people and she’s tells everyone of my little successes. When I won the Karin’s 1st First line contest ““ she put a little announcement in the town newsletter. How sweet is that? Imagine how she’s going to be if I ever publish.
    And My work colleagues are fantastic and supportive too.

  11. Karin

    ok, spy and Tracey get the cheesy awards, but well, day-um those are some awesome hubbies.

    Jake there are masses, you just haven’t met them yet. 😉

  12. Hubby

    Did someone mention dinner?

  13. Sharon Cullen

    I have a wonderfully supportive husband (although he will occasionally complain that the house is messy). There have been several times I was *this close* to throwing in the towel and every time he shames me back to the computer with the words, “That’s right, Sharon, just give up on your dream.”

    Sigh. What do you say to *that*.

    This past Christmas I did run into a naysayer for the first time. A friend of the family who told me what I write is “formulaic” and she “supposed for those of us who can churn them out that it was good money”.

    CHURN THEM OUT????!!!!!

    I steamed for a bit then shrugged it off.

  14. May

    You’re absolutely right, Karin. If you don’t act like it means something to you, people will think that it’s ‘Just a hobby’ and that they are more important than your ‘Just a hobby.’

  15. Edie Ramer

    My mother loved my writing and was really proud of my short stories. My husband will be one of those who will perk up when I sell. To be honest, my CPs are my best support system.

  16. Karin

    D’Ann, you have my vote of confidence! It must be extremely hard not having the backing of your hubby. Kudos to you for hanging in there and following *your* dream. I’d love to be a fly on the wall the day you get your first advance check.

    Write on!

  17. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    You all are so lucky.
    I’m on the other end of the spectrum. My husband doesn’t support me at all. He used to, but it’s been a long haul, and I haven’t sold. It’s not that I write romance. He’d resent it if I wrote westerns or Sci-fi or any other genre. He hates my writing, and he bugs me all the time to get a “real job”. I clean condos one day a week and he wants me to work full time. If I get a rejection and I cry, he shrugs and says, “I told you to give up ten years ago.”
    If I get a good rejection he says, “So? You haven’t sold yet, you aren’t going to.”
    It hurts, but I try not to let it any more.
    My 21 yr old daughter is my #1 fan and she believes in me all the way. She’s watched all the struggles and all the rejections and the dying hope and she never lets me quit. I can’t quit, I can’t let her see me give up no matter how hard it sometimes is to get up and try, try again.
    I have a small on-line group and we exchange daily goals and news and struggles and triumphs. They are my shoulder and my crutch and my friends. If it weren’t for them, and my daughter, I wouldn’t keep chasing this dream.

  18. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    Thanks so much, Karin.
    I was kind of having a pity party today. I’m not giving up any time soon!
    Nos make me stronger!

  19. Karin

    D’Ann, we all have those days.

  20. Cheryel Hutton

    D’Ann, bless your heart! I’m amazed you’ve kept going. IMHO, your hanging in there shows you REALLY want this. Good for you! Show the *insert appropriate insult* what you can do! He’ll sing a different song when he’s holding your book. I bet he’ll be so proud he’ll be annoying.

    He may be trying to keep you from getting hurt. Men have weird logic circuits, LOL.

  21. Loretta

    D’Ann I think it’s impressive that you can keep being as positive as you are, all of us seem to need quite a bit of support, on the rough days especially.
    My husband is very supportive (I think he fantasizes about his lifestyle if I make it*G*) But, the extended family, including my mother and her siblings is a different story. I come from a deeply religious family (Bible belt territory ) with a lot of boxed in ideas of right and wrong. I didn’t realize how entrenched this was until I began to write my first manuscript. I stepped outside all the lines for what was deemed appropriate,sexual scenes were bad enough but I also used Voodoo within the framework of the story. Both things caused deep upset within the family and so I chose a pen name to write under. For me, it was a shock,I thought they could disassociate me, from a story. Of course, the treatment I received made me highly uncomfortable about the writing for awhile, still does at times, but I just keep going forward with my style and genre’. Nothing else flows for me as well so this is the type of writing I have to do, otherwise it’s waaaay too much labor getting it to flow on the page.
    I haven’t got a ‘clue’ what I’ll do if I make it – wear a paper bag on my head I guess – whoop!

  22. Hubby

    D’Ann, when you do finally sell, and you get that first check… Spend every last penny of it on yourself, no matter what.

  23. Karin

    🙂 See why I keep him around? He gets it!

    Lorie, my guy is a smart ass too (one of his most charming characteristics!) But as you can see from his above comment, he gets all this.

    And I hope when you said you’d have to make up the couch you meant for him!

  24. Lorie Hartt

    I have a 50-50% support crew.

    My side of the family is great. My mom, sisters and older nieces pester me constantly to “stop fiddling” and write to sell. My best friends pretty much echo that, except with a little extra force and the odd well timed threat. My kids often suggest names or hooks, and sometimes act as my sounding board for thoughts or phrases (the non-smutty ones anyway) 😉

    My Hubby’s side of the family, not so much. My mother in law used to make constant remarks about how I was “wasting” my time and would often leave the want ads out with “the perfect job for Lorie” circled. *rolling eyes* And then… she’d found out how much money JK Rowling made with her series and she’s since shut up. (Thank You God) My father in law is okay about it, and sometimes gives me feedback on things, such as male pov, reality of suspense type senarious, etc, but I’d not be comfy with him reading my work, mostly b/c he once caught me sneaking back to his son’s room wrapped in a sweatshirt and a smile (well, they were “supposed” to be out of town).

    My husband is not allowed to read my stories, because he’s a smart-ass and I’m positive that he’d say something I wouldn’t like, and then I’d have to make up the couch. I’m in the frozen north, it’s too cold here to sleep alone.

  25. Loretta

    Laughing ie all the analyzing going on about these males *G*. As you said Lorie, it’s hard to interpret what they’re thinking when they do or say things. I do have one pearl of wisdom with that, (not that it applies here, but ya never know when you’ll need a *pearl* to refer to) If they sit and stare in silence and you ask what they’re thinking and they say nothing, it’s the Gospel. They aren’t going deep, reflecting on the mysteries of life, they’re in the cave, with noooo brainwave goin’ on.
    I have a lot of other pearls, taken from the GRITS book (girls raised in the south *G*)might fling a few out once in awhile.
    I think a lot of the time men are just problem solvers, and unless it has the typical dynamics of discussion that leads to resolution, they just zone out and don’t want to hear.
    Mine, well he does help at points as long as something isn’t written in the southern dialect. That sends him over the edge. He just ‘adores’ it (smirk) when I write a sex scene and then ask him to go over it (for the male point of view.) I can tell he’s uncomfortable so I leave the room, come back much later, raise an eyebrow. If I get a nod, I know it’s good, and usually I wind up saying…do you wanna go to bed? *G* if I get a positive, I know it did the job. And isn’t he just gonna luv it if he reads this?! whoop!

  26. Lorie Hartt

    D’Ann, You go girl.

    Cheryel had said

    >He may be trying to keep you from getting hurt. Men have weird logic circuits, LOL.

    I am inclined to agree, men are wierd sometimes, but then, other times, they’re just thoughtless jerks.

  27. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    Thanks for all the nice words and thoughts, everyone. I just try to ignore negativity. But when it hits me, it hits hard.
    Yesterday was one of those days.
    I had to laugh about the circled want ads. Sheez.

  28. Karin

    right on about the problem solving aspect of the male species. Many times I will say to hubby, “I need to talk to you. I don’t need a solution, just an ear.” He nods, I speak and he squirms. He is *so* wanting to fix my problem. It kills him sometimes, but he is as good as his word. It happened today at lunch. We were out and I began our conversation with, “I just need to vent…no answers just listen.”

  29. Lorie Hartt

    But of course Karin. 😀

    LOL Loretta. You were right though, about men being problem solvers. We, as women seem to want to talk about it, look at all the angles, and then decide what the best course of action is and how to get there in the most timely, cost efficient manner. Whereas men just want to get it fixed.

    I joke sometimes about my hubby being a goodball but he’s a good guy, just not into “that whole book thing” as he calls it.

  30. Lorie Hartt

    and that was goof ball, but if I wanted to split hairs… 😀

  31. Loretta

    laughing….I think that’s as close to a near death experience for them as possible…I’m sure there’s some form of de-briefing they have to do after one of ‘those’ conversations!…

    I’m off … sighin’, time to work on my ‘next line’ (always have to tweak it at least one more time)…. now……where IS that purple pen? …

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