Hello there my lovelies! It’s Sunday, and today just happens to be Father’s Day. So in honor of all the supportive men in my life, today I’m giving you My Two Cents on Appreciating the Support You’re Given.
Ok, first of all, this post may not be helpful for everyone. I'm not naive enough to think everyone is going to have the support they hope for or deserve. And this post may sound dumb or self-explanatory, but I have seen a lot of social media posts recently about how people’s family and spouses don’t support their writing. Unfortunately, this is likely true, and will probably always be the case, and I don’t have a simple solution for that.
But, I hope to point out, is that sometimes support looks different than a person jumping up and down at your success. In fact, often times support isn’t overt and can be easily overlooked. So I thought maybe I’d give a few examples of the way the people in my life support me, and perhaps some of those out there who think their loved ones aren’t supportive will be able to see that support mirrored in their own lives.
What people who say their loved ones aren’t supportive sometimes say:
They’ve never read my books/writing
They don’t listen when I talk about my writing/books
They don’t care about my pain when I get rejected/get bad reviews
They think I’m being dramatic about… (fill in the blank)
They don’t care about anything to do with my books
They complain about how much time I spend writing
These are obviously just a few examples, but the main ones I think a lot of writers have seen/heard, and the ones I think I can easily debunk as not being 100% accurate.
They’ve never read my books/writing
Let’s start with an easy (ish) one. To start with, I'll say, I know I’m lucky that my husband has read all four of my current WIPs in my romance series, without much prompting.
But when I hear, “They’ve never read my books,” my first reaction is always, “Do you want them to?” Sometimes we forget that our writing could be an outlet for things that may be bothering us or a way to work out a part of our personality that stays hidden beneath the surface in real life. So ask yourself if you really want your loved ones to read that. Also, are you asking them to? A lot of times, we get mad at our loved ones because we don't ask them for what we want, but expect them to read our minds and know. If you aren't asking, is that also saying something?
Even if you want them to read it, and you’ve asked them to, you should still be asking yourself if they are snubbing your writing specifically, or just reading in general. If your loved one isn’t a reader, or they typically read another genre, reading your book might not be enjoyable for them. And would you really want them to read it just to appease you? Or would you rather they enjoy it?
Plus, manage your expectations about what their reading it actually means. Sure, my husband has read all of my romance books. But he didn’t have any meaningful feedback to contribute, and outside of “I liked it a lot” I haven’t ever heard much else. He generally reads Westerns or Procedural Military Dramas, so most of the time, he isn’t my target audience, anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I give him huge props for reading a romance series, especially because it isn’t really his cup of tea. But he hasn’t read my Kindle Vella story which probably is more closely related to his preferred reading and I can’t really tell you why other than he hasn’t been reading much of anything lately. Could I potentially take offense? Yes. But I don’t, because I know he’s just not reading because he doesn’t feel like reading, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with me.
2. They don’t listen when I talk about my writing/books
Okay, sometimes “reading” your work, might look more like listening to you talk about it. And sometimes “listening” is subjective too. If they aren’t yelling in your face to stop or walking away when you’re talking, I consider that listening.
My husband “listens” when I read out loud excerpts I’m struggling with, but he doesn’t usually have much to add or any help to provide. He isn’t a writer. And while he goes through his spurts of reading a lot, he isn’t an avid reader either. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me or doesn’t support me, it means he’d rather scroll TikTok than read or listen to me read, and he has every right to do that. We don’t have the same hobbies or passions, and that is perfectly okay. I “listen” when he talks about hunting, camping, or fishing, too. They aren’t my passions, but I support that it’s something he likes, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them or have any meaningful feedback to provide on the topic.
Also, listening might not even mean listening. My family has voted on I don’t know how many book covers even though my books are nowhere near ready to be published. And listening might not mean replying. They constantly sit in silence when I ask “How do you spell conceived, is it i-e or e-i?” Or “What’s another word for betray?” Ninety percent of the time they don’t know the answer, but they wait for me to figure it out before moving the conversation along. They also listen to endless amounts of out-loud arguments I murmur to myself about why my characters are doing what they're doing. That is all “listening” even if they aren’t commenting.
3. They don’t care about my pain when I get rejected/get bad reviews
I don’t know your situation, but I know mine. My husband hates to hear that I’ve gotten rejected by an agent or publisher. But his stock answer is “Sorry, babe. That sucks.” And then he moves on to talking about the TikTok he’s watching or what’s next on our family agenda, and that’s all the sympathy I generally get.
Does it mean he doesn’t care? No. It means he doesn’t understand how much it hurts, even though I was sort of expecting a no. It means he’s never put himself in the position to be rejected over and over and he can’t really empathize with the way I feel. It means he is a stoic guy, and he doesn’t get overly emotional about much, so why would I expect him to get emotional about something that ultimately doesn’t mean that much in the scheme of his life?
Pragmatically, you can expect your loved ones to care that you’re upset, but you can’t ask them to care as much as you do. That’s not realistic. People, in general, are inherently selfish. You probably care more about your own shit than you do about your spouse’s too. So just take that into consideration when you are considering if they care “enough” about your pain.
4. They think I’m being dramatic about… (the number of followers I have, the number of books I’ve sold, how many reviews I have, how hard social media is, etc).
Let’s be honest until you live on BookTok/Bookstagram, you can’t understand the world. You may have been part of the community for a while, but most spouses/loved ones aren’t. They cannot understand how desperate one can feel trying to get people to like/view a reel they spent hours on. They can’t understand how much it hurts when nobody comments on your QOTD, or worse, they comment something negative. They don’t know the pain of someone leaving a less-than-stellar review (and tagging you in it).
And unless they’re also a writer, reviewer, booktoker, bookstagrammer, they will probably never fully understand.
Plus, let's be honest with ourselves, we probably all put a little too much stock in what the social media community thinks too. So we probably are being a little dramatic. Unfortunately, it’s the way the world is. And while social media has opened up an entirely new world of readers that we may have never found before, it can be kinda brutal. You are probably always going to have some level of anxiety about what you aren’t doing or what people on social media are saying, but ultimately, you have to keep reminding yourself that if you like your work, that’s all that matters.
5. They don’t care about anything to do with my books
I don’t know how to respond to this, except to say if they actually don’t care at all, maybe you’re in the wrong relationship.
To circle back to my earlier example, I don’t really care about hunting, camping, or fishing, but my husband does, and when he talks about it, I “listen.” I say “listen” because let’s face it, not much of is penetrating. But I like seeing him excited about whatever it is, and I encourage him to go do it when he wants to. I also have given him many gifts of paraphernalia that have to do with said hobbies/passions.
And he does the same in reverse. I am the person who primarily handles the finances in our household. So a lot of times his “supporting me,” or “buying me things” looks like me buying them for myself. But he doesn’t really complain about the amount of money I spend on website fees, editing services, marketing expenses, etc. He doesn’t always know exactly how much I spend, but for example, earlier this month I told him I’d booked an editor for book one. He knows it is expensive (even though he doesn’t know how expensive). But his response when I told him I’d booked her, was “Happy Birthday.” And I’m okay with that. I’m perfectly happy not getting gifts of things, in favor of advancing what is important to me. But that is an open honest exchange you need to have with your loved one.
If you really think your spouse/loved one doesn’t care, you need to have a conversation as to why you think they feel that way. Maybe they’re afraid of the amount of money you’re spending because you don’t have the money to spend. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, that just means you need to be willing to give something up in order to get what you want. Have you changed something in order to afford it? Would you be willing to forego Starbucks, or birthday gifts in favor of supporting your craft? If not, maybe the question isn’t how much your loved one cares, but how much you actually care about it. You have to care more than anyone else, that’s just a fact. And if you don’t, then how can you expect anyone else to care?
6. They complain about how much time I spend writing
Okay, this might end up being an unpopular opinion, but I feel like this is actually a huge compliment. If they’re complaining about how much time you spend writing, it means they want to spend time with you, right?
Don’t get me wrong, they should definitely support you in doing what you love. And to reiterate, if they really don’t, then maybe you need to consider if you’re in the right relationship. But, you should also put yourself in their shoes. If they were spending the same amount of time doing one of their hobbies/passions, would it bother you? Is there a way for you to do what you want without spending so much time on it? And is it an all-the-time thing, or just sometimes?
What I mean by that last part is, I tend to get into writing grooves. Where I’ll spend days at a time, locked in my room, writing away. But that’s very rare, and when it happens, my husband is happy for me. Because there are also times when I can’t think of a thing to write and I spend hours staring at a blank screen. I also might spend most of the day Sunday creating content, writing this blog, and editing, but I’ll spend all day Saturday with my family.
The point is, consider if maybe you’re the problem. If you’re spending every free second working on your writing, working on social media/marketing content, editing, reading, or talking to and supporting other author friends/people in the writing community, are you spending enough time on your relationship? Or is there an end in sight for when you might not be spending all your time on it? Do you need to be spending more time to make your relationship a priority?
So what does it all boil down to?
In my opinion, I think most of our loved ones are way more supportive than we probably give them credit for. We just need to really examine the ways in which they’re providing the support. Just because it isn’t exactly like someone else’s spouse, or exactly how we’d like it, doesn’t mean it isn’t still support. All people are different, and if you really love someone, you should understand what their love language is, and examine whether or not they’re supporting you the way they know how.
Plus, we also need to consider our own contributions to the relationship. For example, my husband travels four days a week for work, so we only see him on the weekends. Similarly, I work a full-time “real” job, and a part-time job in the evenings. So the only time I really have time to work on my writing is on weekends. But if I were to spend the entirety of that time on writing and not with my family, you could see how they would see me as unsupportive. And, you could see how that might upset them.
Before we simply label our loved ones as unsupportive, we as writers also have to consider things from their point of view. Our loved ones need to know we support them and that means giving them our time. It also means pulling our faces out of our books, computers, and phone screens enough to let them know their passions are important to us, too. True support should be unconditional, but it should also be reciprocal, so don’t forget to do your part.
And if your loved one truly doesn’t support you, at all, in any way, maybe you need to be examining if the relationship is right for you. Obviously, I don’t know your situation, but if you look at it from all these different angles, and you still can’t see one way that they support you, then is the relationship healthy? Are you getting anything from it? Would you be happier alone? I’m not suggesting you dump your spouse, I’m just suggesting you examine things, and make an informed decision. Also, honesty is so important. So if their support isn’t what you hoped for, have you discussed that with them and asked them for what you need?
So that’s it folks, that’s my long rambly way of giving you My Two Cents on Appreciating the Support You’re Given. It may not always look exactly like you want it, but it’s probably there, and you should learn to appreciate it when it is. Accepting people where they are is one of the most difficult things in life to achieve, but we should never stop trying.
Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there, and a special thank you to the guy who gave me my three beautiful kids. I’m not sure I would have the courage to chase my dreams so full speed if I didn’t know you’d be there to pick up the pieces when I fell. I love you, baby!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell the dads in your life Happy Father's Day!
Let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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