Friday, September 2, 2011

Under Pressure

The moment I wrote the title and the whole time writing this post, Queen's "Under Pressure" was in my head, so I give you the music first.  I listen to this often but didn't realize David Bowie was singing too - maybe he wrote it - I'm not sure.  There's some great horror scenes toward the end (and unfortunately some women dancing in swim suits - Why?!)

In many of my posts, I've commented about how supportive my family is about my writing.  By family, I mean my husband and my kids. 

When I mention to anyone else in my extended family that I'm writing novels and have written several short stories and poems, their eyes gloss over and they change the subject quickly.  Being a writer, I'm not so much offended, but intrigued by the behavior.  Do they think I'm nuts or maybe a crappy writer, or are they just not interested?

I once worked up the courage to show one of my poems to my mother.  She started to fold it and put it in her purse without even glancing at it.  I asked her to give it back and she did without saying a word.  I was put off for a second, but then I found it so interesting that poems in general don't mean anything to her, even though this one poem nearly stuffed into her purse with gum and tissues meant everything to me.  To her, it was just a piece of paper.

My immediate family is the opposite.  My husband and daughter are huge fans.  They tell everyone I'm a writer like it's an indisputable fact.  My middle son shows his support by helping out with my little guy so I can write or to make sure I can get to my writing group on time.  And my pre-schooler has started telling me stories of his own - long intricate stories he tells with amazing expression - all with a mouse in the story, just like the story I tell him.

There is a point, however, when the overwhelming support from my immediate family feels like pressure.  If I don't finish my stories and get them published, it's all on me - and I will not just let myself down, I will let them down too. 

It's not a screaming in horror kind of pressure or the kind that makes me feel like my mind is going to explode (like in the video) - it's a quiet realization that I have no excuses to fail - unless my writing really sucks. (Ooops - I should have saved this for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!)

Right now, these last couple of months, injuries definitely have slowed me down, but that's no long-term excuse.  Time is certainly working against me - I only have a few hours a week to write, less and less lately - but that should improve soon.

But my family won't let me fail - and will never see me as a failure even if I decided to stop now, with everything half-written and unpublished.  They would tell me to look at all the writing I have done and say that isn't failure (even the stuff that kind of wasn't great).  They will keep encouraging me and celebrate successes with me - even the very small ones. 

So I keep writing. 


  1. You can still talk about it next Wednesday!
    Friends can be like that as well. Just indifferent. That's why friendships online are so cool - everyone is so supportive.

  2. @Alex - Very true with friends. I only talk about writing with my writing friends. And my financial guy - he is very encouraging and thinks/hopes I can make a lot of money if I do it just right (of course, he makes money if I make money).

  3. You're lucky your immediate family appreciates your love of the craft. I see tons of eyes glazing over constantly. One day, when I'm published,they'll all be eating their words. Don't let anyone steer you away from the truth about yourself. You're a writer. I won't be around for the launching of the Insecure Writer's Group, but good luck. I'm sure you'll have a lot of supporters. :)

  4. As long as your immediate family supports you, that's what matters. My husband is my greatest cheerleader.

  5. You are most definitely a writer - no matter what anyone says or thinks.

  6. I'm glad your immediate family believes in you. We all need support from somewhere. Don't put extra pressure on yourself. This is often a long rode. :) I was big Bowie & Queen fans in the day, so love this song.

  7. Oh that's very cool that your family is supportive!

    Mine is too -- but they respect my superstition on NOT talking about current projects; they get wary though when I ask them to read stuff, because I don't always react well to negative remarks (I'm trying to get better)

    Some friends know that I'm a writer, but I made the mistake of telling one an idea I was working on and he said, "Hmm, well that sounds mildly suspenseful."

    So, it varies. I think people have a hard time grasping what being a "writer" means! :)

  8. @Laila - I do feel very lucky. My husband in particular is very supportive - he read this and said, "But you ARE a writer...."

    @L. Diane Wolfe - Mine too, a very hairy Greek cheerleader. :)

    @Anonymous - Thanks, Mary!

    @M Pax - Mostly it just feels like support. I fully expect it to take a solid ten years of writing before any money comes in from it. I accept that - actually, that makes it easier to just keep writing.

    @Nicole - I felt that way too, but recently got over it. It helps if I tell him what kind of comments I want from him. Like if it's a first draft, I just want praise, no corrections.

  9. Extended family members have called me to assure me I should not feel so much pressure - maybe the screaming in the clip is causing the confusion? I've never been happier and am confident I'm doing my thing. My family has eliminated the obstacles (except that I need more hours) - how can I be upset about that? :)