Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG - December, 2012



Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for this monthly group hug.

At our family get-together for Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law said it:  "So, you I hear you're writing a book." 

All eyes were on me.  I've been playing it cool up until now.  Only my sister and mom knew I've been writing novels for the last three years. 

I looked him in the eye without wincing and said, "Yes, I am," as if it were something I wanted to talk about. 

Recently, I let my sister read the first chapter of my last novel.  I didn't get the impression she wanted to read more.  I told myself she was busy - but I believed she just didn't like it. 

My brother-in-law kept asking more questions as if he were interviewing me.  He asked what was the title and what steps I would need to take to get it published.  I had one of those 'Oh, Crap!' moments where I wanted to run or hide or just evaporate into thin air.  Then I glanced at my sister.  The look on her face was unmistakable: she was incredibly proud of me.

I told everyone that I'm on my fourth novel.  I told them the titles and what I'm working on now.  They all were attentive and seemed to really care about it, which I didn't expect at all.  Everyone at the table agreed it would be cool to know someone that wrote a novel.  They seemed genuine about it - no one was mocking me or doubted for a minute I could do it.

I assured them it's unlikely I will make any real money from this, and if I do get published, it may be ten years out. 

My brother-in-law said, "So, it's a hobby?"

I thought, No, not even close.  I said, "Sort of."  And the conversation turned to the huge success of J.K. Rowling and then my step-dad's aches and pains. 

This is definitely not a hobby for me.  It's more of a compulsion.  But I'm okay with other people in my life viewing it as a hobby because I honestly don't need pressure from anyone.  I just need to take it one chapter at a time. 

I didn't think I needed the support of my family, and I never expected I would get it.  Now that I have it, it feels fantastic - I feel 100 times less insecure than I did last month. 

52 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this! Yes, we often write first and foremost for ourselves, but to have the support of people we love is such a blessing. I'm so glad you've found that in your family!

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  2. I've been lucky to have the super support of my family. The best part is my children being proud of me and bringing their friends to booksignings.

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    1. My kids and husband are proud of me too. I was happy my husband wasn't in the room because he wouldn't have let the conversation end. I don't have a warm and fuzzy supportive kind of family outside of my own house, so this meant a lot.

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  3. That is awesome! Good on your sister for giving you the look so you'd have confidence. Be proud of what you are doing.

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    1. She's not the kind of person that would fake any kind of support, so it was awesome to see her so happy for me.

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  4. I think having the support of your family is amazing Tonya. I really don't like it when people tell me my writing sounds "like a nice hobby". It's so much more to me than that too!

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    1. I accept the fact that it's not necessarily going to be a huge money making pursuit. I think they all had the impression it was. I would rather have them think it's a hobby than have pressure (and future questions) over getting the novels published. It will happen when it happens, and I know they will be as happy as I am even if the money I make is 1% of my former salary (and it probably will be).

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  5. Aww! It's so great when family members are supportive. And most people compare writers to JK Rowling. It's like she's the only author they know. Heh.

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    1. Well, I think she's the one they know that became phenomenally successful overnight.

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  6. Yeah, Tonja - that is wonderful. Actually, considering it a hobby helps me tremendously - it takes the pressure off having to succeed and make oodles of money.
    Karen

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    1. I consider it work - otherwise I wouldn't do it. But I'm OK with other people thinking it's a hobby. I don't need to be accountable to anyone else.

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  7. I really hate the family questions about my writing. It's too hard to explain the process, so I just tell them it's a hobby that keeps me busy. But, oh, it is so much more than that, as you know.

    Glad you've got the support of your family. They'll be there to cheer you on when you get your novels published!

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    1. It's a much slower process than I ever imagined, not just the writing and editing, but everything after that. I've been writing for three. I figure I'll have something published in 7. It'll be fine.

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  8. That sounds like the best dinner conversation EVER! Congrats on a positive experience with talking about writing to a crowd who can be the most critical.

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    1. They really weren't critical at all. Isn't that weird?

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  9. It's always a wonderful feeling when you know those closest to you are encouraging you and cheering you on. Isn't it funny that when the topic of money comes up, people pull out the "so it's a hobby" card? Just because you don't make millions at something doesn't mean it's just a hobby. But not everyone gets that.

    Best of luck to you in this novel and all the novels to come!

    (Wandered over from the IWSG!)

    ~Jen

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    1. I didn't really mind the hobby comment. Now I can't disappoint anyone. :)

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  10. Sometimes you don't even realize how much it helps to have someone in your corner until you turn around and find them cheering you on. I had a taste of family support over Thanksgiving as well, which was very nice as I hadn't seen any of them for a couple of years. Feels great, doesn't it? :)

    Congrats on the support, and good luck going forward!

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    1. I know...I didn't think I needed that kind of support. It's awesome.

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  11. Hey Tonja! This is my first month of IWSG and I'm trying to make the rounds ...

    I'm almost positive every writer goes through this. I've been so insecure about talking about my writing--and still am. But it is especially bad when people begin to understand how much of yourself you invest into it with very little to show in terms of what they would call success. (You'll notice that most of the time their version of success involves Oprah, money, or you handing them a physical book.)

    I made the biggest leap in my writing, and frame of mind, when I decided to write for me. Not for publication, not for friends, not to fill some marketing niche, etc.--just for me. I began to write stories that entertained me, which is what I think I wanted to do all along. Things started clicking at that point.

    Look at the years you've given to writing up to this point as an investment. It will all pay off, I promise. All of the skills and knowledge you've amassed will eventually combine and POW you'll have it. And it really is that instantaneous. You'll write a story that will make the hairs on your neck stiffen when you give it that first full read through, and you'll know immediately you've done something--that this is the one you're going to share with the world.

    Really nice to meet you, and looking forward to reading more about your writing journey.

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    1. Honestly, I didn't think they would care. Cool that they did.

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  12. You did just right in telling them everything and now they're giving you their support. That's lovely. By next Thanksgiving you'll be giving them copies of your paperbacks!

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  13. It really made me smile to read this post. It's wonderful that your family is supportive and especially that your sister was so proud of you. I can imagine how great that must have made you feel.

    Yay for feeling less insecure! :)

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  14. It just feels good when those close to us respect our writing. I don't like having to explain my writing, either. But by reducing it to a succinct statement we are forced to look at our story in a simple, blurb type way.

    To a non-writer, it's a simple set of steps - you write it, you publish it, it's online or in the bookstores, what's the problem. They haven't been exposed to multiple revisions, and the other writerly forms of initiation. At least they're interested, just keep them hanging on.

    Nice IWSG post!

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    1. I am certain I simplify what they do too, so it's all good. :)

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  15. I'm so happy that you "came out of the closet" to them. It's important that your loved ones know about something that takes up so much of your time, passion and energy.

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  16. I am so happy for you. Having your family's support is a huge thing Tonja! So I hope you are smiling from ear to ear.

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  17. That's awesome! I think I'd be annoyed by anyone thinking it's a hobby just because I don't make a lot of money from it though. Sometimes my family is very supportive and other times not so much. *sigh*

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    1. I'll take whatever support I can get. :)

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  18. Wow, Tonja, I don't know how you kept it a secret for so long! So glad you have the support and are feeling great this month. It does seem like everyone wants to know a writer. It's uncomfortable for me as a writer, though, because then I think they expect too much of me, and maybe I'm not up to it.

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    1. I think we're both up to it. We're both working very hard.

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  19. What a wonderful gift! Family support is amazing! Great uplifting post!
    Heather

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us. It really brought a smile to my face. I know what you mean about writing being a compulsion. I love it and miss it so much when I'm not able to fit it into my life.

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  21. People never get it, especially family. My advice, evade the discussion.

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  22. That is so awesome! Love it and love that you are less insecure!

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  23. It's so wonderful to have that kind of close support. Hold onto the memory of your sister's proud face.

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  24. It's wonderful to have family support. I kept my dirty little writing secret from my family for ages then thought, why? So now every five minutes I get asked 'how's the novel going?' Aaarrgggghhhh...At least now I get given a bit more head space as they understand it's a long haul...

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  25. Congratulations on getting the support of your family. I think they are our toughest critics.

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  26. It certainly is important, even crucial, to have that sort of support. Whenever I would mention to my parents that I was a writer, they would give me these petulant glances accompanied by the typical "And how are you going to make money?" smirk.

    Now...my mother and my friends actively inquire when I am going to finish my first novel and have it published. What a relief!

    -Barb

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  27. I'm so happy for you Tonja! I'm glad that your family is interested in what you're writing, and are very proud of you. Keep on persuing your dreams, and it's nice to know that you have them in your corner. Julie

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  28. Hi Tonja,

    Keep at it. Dreams are worth living and good that your family supports you now.

    All the best!

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  29. I'm sure you feel relieved that your family response was so positive? No matter what we say, having the support of those closest to us, makes a huge difference!
    So good for you!!
    Nobody in my family (besides my hubby) knows of my "writerly aspirations"...

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  30. I know how you feel about it not being a hobby - COMPULSION is definitely accurate. And we dedicate so much of our lives to this writing thing that it kind of goes beyond a mere hobby.

    Very glad that your family was so supportive! Mine is too, but they're always asking if I've had anything published yet. haha

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  31. That's great that you have family support. It does feel really good. My sister has offered to help me with editing when I am finished writing my first manuscript, but I am a little nervous about her reading my work. Your experience has given me a little more confidence. Just a little :)

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  32. I'm so glad to hear that you have your sister's pride! The support of family and friends is a wonderful thing. I wish I had more of it! My blogging buddies are much more supportive than my real life ones...then again, they're on the same page so I reckon they'd understand the writing road better, anyway :)

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  33. Yup... compulsion. People who don't do this have NO IDEA. And for publishing, I think even some people who WRITE don't quite get it. A lot of people are so set on their first book, that they don't start that next project and I think each one we do makes us better. My 7th book was my first one published, and only on about the 10th did I recognize what changes my FIRST book really needed (though I haven't made them yet)

    Glad your family is proud! Mine didn't believe I would do it until I did. The writing part seemed to be perceived as a waste of time.

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  34. Heather - Thank you.

    Cally - Compulsion in a good way of course. :)

    Mina - LOL. I agree.

    Traci Jo - Thanks :)

    Lynda - Tahnks, Lynda.

    Denise - I've always felt they weren't really interested.

    Scribbles - Thank you.

    The Beans - I don't know. I don't think it's crucial exactly. We can do whatever we want without any support if we are very determined about it.

    Julie - I knew what you meant. :)

    Romance Reader - I definitely will keep at it. It's more hard work than dream at this point, and I still love it.

    Michelle - I'm sure your family will be proud too.

    Trisha - I think when you work on it daily with determination, it's not a hobby. It's not a side-job (although technically raising the small one, the tween, and the teen is the full-time job). The paycheck is deferrred - that doesn't make it less work. If anything it's more difficult because of that.

    Loca - My advice is to say no on edits from family. They will either be too nice and not give you good feedback or it will hurt your feelings when they are tough on you. Find someone else that's a writer and exchange chapters (assuming you havent' already).

    Randi - It's easier to get understanding from people in the same boat. It is an unusually awesome group we have here.

    Hart - There's nothing I can really compare it too except maybe art - like painting or sculpture or even playing music. We're like a bunch of guitar players in a garage band. I absolutely accept the fact this is a marathon. I may write twenty novels before I get published, but then I will have twenty to sell.

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