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?