Family interference

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Family interference

Post by CharleeVale » July 2nd, 2012, 9:13 pm

Hey guys,

I'm just wondering how supportive your families are of your writing, and of your work time? Was just curious and wanted to judge how hard, if any, the difficulties have been.

I'm living with my parents for the Summer. They're very supportive of the writing and the editing internship, but they don't seem to understand that when I'm working, I really need to be working and not interrupted. And then they don't understand why I get upset. *Ahem* I will post a very typical conversation from today's frustrations.

Me: *Sitting quietly, reading MS I'm editing for internship*
Father *Arriving home, Coming into my room* Hi!
Me: *Still reading* hi.
Father: How was your day?
Me: Fine.
Father: Is so-and-so staying with us this week?
Me: *Still reading* No.
Father: Why?
Me: I don't know.
Father: He didn't say anything?
Me: No.
Father: Are you ok?
Me: I'm reading.
Father: Are you sure? Cause you seem kinda down.
Me: I'm reading.
Father: Why are you upset? I didn't do anything! *leaves room*
Me: I'm not. I'm just....*gives up and goes back to reading*

20 Mins. later:
Father: *comes back* What are your reading for?
Me: I'm reading for work.
Father: Oh. You mean the publishing company?
Me: *stifling snarky comment* Yes.
Father: Oh. Do you know what's for dinner?
Me: *smacks head*

I know that I'm being overly dramatic. But it frustrates me that whenever the people in my house work, and I interrupt them, they have grounds to be upset. But when they interrupt me, it's ok, because I'm just reading. EVEN IF IT'S FOR WORK. Ugh.

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Re: Family interference

Post by Cookie » July 2nd, 2012, 9:54 pm

I have similar problems with my father. Mostly:

"Wow, you're still tinkering with that thing?"

Or, "Wow, your paper have a lot more read than mine." (He's a contractor)

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Re: Family interference

Post by Sanderling » July 2nd, 2012, 10:03 pm

I do find that my husband will come in and just kind of hang around in my study sometimes when he's bored and at loose ends. Sometimes I'm puttering on social networks and forum boards ;) but sometimes I'm actually working. I feel rude saying "I'm working at the moment", but sometimes it needs to be said because I don't know that he can tell the difference on his own. He's usually pretty good about respecting my reading time, though.

That's sort of different from the first half of your opening question, regarding how supportive family was of one's writing. When I first started writing my first fiction manuscript the only one who truly understood and I felt was supportive on a deep level was one of my sisters. My parents and my best friend, they were supportive but in that way folks are when someone's picked up a new hobby that they themselves don't have much interest in and don't know if it'll be a passing thing. Once I had a few manuscripts under my belt and it was clear I was taking it pretty seriously they became much more supportive and serious about it, too. Although, I still often get the feeling that only me and my sister really believe that it's a matter of When, as far as making it a career - I think my parents, best friend, even my husband, all still sort of view it as If. (Maybe this leads into the problem with interruptions.)
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Re: Family interference

Post by polymath » July 3rd, 2012, 1:00 am

I live alone. I work alone. I write alone. There's some kind of white noise television or stereo playing in the background for ambiance. Otherwise, I can't work where I'll be disrupted or distracted by other people's insistence upon my attention. I get my work done so I have time for socializing.

Not to say I haven't had to do my work around others. Last year, at Mom's interment, we'd all gathered at a hotel. I was in Dad's room, the hub of activity. An editing job came in the night before the ceremony, that was expedited due overnight. I did the job among all the distraction, when anyone entered my work space, my personal space, I said I'm working. I'll be done in X minutes. I was. Then I could relax and enjoy the company, mourn.

Whenever I' work around others, that's the way it is. Work first, mindful a moment or two to set aside the work is no big deal, not if I've planned for meeting a deadline and not left the job to the last minute and become frazzled by the pressure.

One thing I do do, though, is listen to what whoever is really saying when they disturb me, what they really mean. When someone pesters me, it's usually because they want a moment to connect. I appreciate that, love that someone has chosen me to connect with. It's rare enough as it is. I'm not going to pass up a moment to connect with a loved one. I plan on losing roughly a quarter of my work time to meaningful distractions. They all are meaningful, only they often on the surface seem trivial at the moment.
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Re: Family interference

Post by writersink » July 3rd, 2012, 4:14 am

That happens to me all the time. I'll be sitting in my room, writing away, and someone will come in:
"What're you doing?"
"Still? Haven't you been working on that for life a year? Are you not done yet?"
*Bites back comment of "I would be done if you could leave me alone!"*

My family knows nothing about the writing world. They know I write, but they don't think I'm serious about it, like it is something I just do in my free time for fun. So they're supportive because they are obliged to be, being family.

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Re: Family interference

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 3rd, 2012, 9:27 am

My husband's cool about it and understands the whole process. If I'm at home working he'll come into the room and if I raise my hand to stop him he turns around and leaves until I let him know I'm up for a break. I don't even have to say anything. We've got it down to a science. While the summer time is a little different, during the school year he teaches high school kids and has just as much work at night as I do. So he's usually busy grading or planning in the evenings in his own office while I work in mine.

My house ends up being very distracting for me though, so I do a lot of my work at a local coffee shop where no one bothers me but to ask me if I want a coffee refill. *love*
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Re: Family interference

Post by dios4vida » July 3rd, 2012, 11:24 am

My husband and parents are very supportive. My Mum is constantly encouraging me and telling me it's a matter of when not if, which is good because a lot of the times I don't believe that myself. My husband is more than happy to give me all the time, space, materials, and Plotmaster help that I need which is amazing. I don't get interrupted when I'm working because I write while he's at work. It's just me and the cats from 7am - 6pm, which gives me plenty of time to get as much (or little) done as I can. It's rare that I write at night or on weekends, but I know that's a luxury most of you would kill for so I try not to complain about being lonely during the daytime.

That being said, the rest of my family just doesn't get me. My sister, to whom I'm very close, thinks I'm just a step or two away from going completely insane. She smiles all nice when I talk about my writing and was really excited to hear I was going to Vegas to meet the Bransforumers, but I think it was more because she was happy I was getting out and being, you know, social. The only time she actually asks about my writing is when we're playing cards and Brian and I are beating her and her husband, so she gets me talking about writing because she knows it distracts me from the game. :oops: I made the mistake of telling my uber-conservative Christian grandparents I was writing a fantasy novel when I was 19 and I think they're afraid I'm going to hell for writing about magic now. That's all my close family, actually, and the rest of my extended family whom I rarely talk to are in the "oh, isn't that nice" category.
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Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Family interference

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 3rd, 2012, 11:52 am


Just yell "I swear to Cthulu, the next one that interrupts me will have their head eaten when he ascends from the murky below!"

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Re: Family interference

Post by MattLarkin » July 3rd, 2012, 11:56 am

mark54g wrote:Brenda,

Just yell "I swear to Cthulu, the next one that interrupts me will have their head eaten when he ascends from the murky below!"

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Re: Family interference

Post by Aimée » July 3rd, 2012, 12:04 pm

CharleeVale wrote: I know that I'm being overly dramatic. But it frustrates me that whenever the people in my house work, and I interrupt them, they have grounds to be upset. But when they interrupt me, it's ok, because I'm just reading. EVEN IF IT'S FOR WORK. Ugh.
My dad is the same way! If he walks in on my typing something on my laptop, he asks "Is that for work or for fun?" I can't say it's for work, because it's not for my job, it's my own project I'm doing on my own time, and I can't say it's fun because then he'll either not take me seriously or think I'm just wasting my time playing a game or something and he'll ask me to do something for him or talk to him or something... So I say "Sort of work, sort of fun." Because writing is fun right? :D

But my mother thinks my writing is just a passing hobby that will lead me nowhere in life, so she'll say "Oh, you're just writing? Come do the dishes." Or something like that, and I'm like, "NO, I'M WRITING."

Same goes for reading... I've been saying "It's for work," a lot more lately so they'll just leave me alone...

Most of my friends and family know I write, but they don't know how serious I am about it. I'm kind of glad because then they don't ask me about it, and if I fail then they'll never know... It is frustrating though, when they ask me what I'm doing, and I tell then that I'm writing, and they say, "Oh, so you're not busy then?..."

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Re: Family interference

Post by oldhousejunkie » July 3rd, 2012, 12:19 pm

I wouldn't say that I have family support...just acceptance. It feels like my dad doesn't take me seriously. Of course, he's one of those duty bound types. Get a job, keep and stay focused on said job....FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

My mom only has a small tolerance for my obsessing about certain writerly things; if I need vent, I've got her for less than 10 minutes before she goes, "Not to change the subject, but I'm changing the subject." My husband is probably the most supportive and respectful at this moment, which is great since we live together. Now my grandpa was the best overall. He totally believed in me and was so excited whenever I finished something, got a request, etc. He passed away in April and it's been ridiculously hard knowing that I don't have that he's not here to share my excitement anymore. :(

As for leaving me alone, my hubby is ADHD, so depending on his mood, he can either be aloof and leave me be, or be trying to talk to me about stuff. Fortunately, he takes "Um hm" as a response and doesn't get mad. Sometimes he takes the hint and says, "Sorry, I will let you write."

The one thing that does bother me is that he seems convinced that if we have kids, I'm going to be absorbed in writing and forget about being a parent. I mean, seriously? Of course, I think this may be because I'm afraid his ADHD will interfere with his helping me out with the kids. One of those "I've got to one up your concern" type of deals. Nonetheless, being able to write whenever, whereever and knowing that having kids will change that, has factored heavily into my decision-making/desire in regards to having children.

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Re: Family interference

Post by Beethovenfan » July 3rd, 2012, 3:06 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:The one thing that does bother me is that he seems convinced that if we have kids, I'm going to be absorbed in writing and forget about being a parent. I mean, seriously? Of course, I think this may be because I'm afraid his ADHD will interfere with his helping me out with the kids. One of those "I've got to one up your concern" type of deals. Nonetheless, being able to write whenever, whereever and knowing that having kids will change that, has factored heavily into my decision-making/desire in regards to having children.
I have a husband and two kids. My husband is working on getting his PhD right now so he's usually not available to help me with our kids. I've learned to juggle my time. But they are a little older now. When they were young, it was hard to find time to write. But if I had to choose between writing and kids, I'll choose to have kids. I find writing very rewarding, but my kids are my life. They take a lot out of you, but they give back so much, and in ways that you never knew you needed. It's kinda difficult to explain, sorta like describing salt to a person who has never tasted it. Once you know what it's like, you go "Ah, yes. I know what you mean."
As for family interference... yes. All. The. Time! That's when you learn not to lose your cool too much, try to set a few boundaries, and hope they don't get crossed too often so you can get something done! :)
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Re: Family interference

Post by ladymarella » July 5th, 2012, 9:23 am

I think I am pretty lucky. Mum is quite supportive, and knows I want to make a career out of it. She just wants to read the manuscript, which I won't let her do until I've finished it and given it at least one edit.

Not quite family, but my friends are pretty supportive: my best friend since I was five, knows basically the whole plot, for years on the school bus I just bounced ideas off her, she's ruthless, and will tell me exactly what she thinks of something, which is why she's going to be my main beta reader. My other best friend is really keen to read the manuscript as well. Out of my wider circle of friends I am one of four serious writers.

My boyfriend thinks it's wonderful that I write, I remember the day before we started going out he found out I was writing a novel, and got me to tell him lots about it. He's a good bit of a writer himself, but mainly short stories and the like, and we're both quite into literature. We've swapped writing a few times, and he's read the prologue to my novel, and he thought it was excellent (I think he's a tad biased)

so all in all I have pretty good support, but I sometimes feel guilty spending too much time writing, because I think I should be helping out around the house, and I don't have an issue with telling people I write, I only tell them I'm writing a novel if they ask really. I don't like people asking me what it's about though, because I have issues explaining it, and then i think people thinking I'm crazy.
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The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

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Re: Family interference

Post by Claudie » July 6th, 2012, 1:07 pm

I'm very lucky with this. My family totally understands this and if I tell them I'm writing, they'll leave me alone and won't complain. My boyfriend will actually get mad at me if I haven't written much in a day and he's forced me to do it at times. Like, "no Skyrim/Dragon Age/Assassin's Creed/any game I can only play on his computer until you've done your daily wordcount." Very cool.

I think the most problematic family member I have (on that front) is my twin sister. I just moved in with her (YAY) and she keeps entering my room to ask questions or chat despite the bright orange Do Not Bother sign at the door, which Sommer made for us, and on which I wrote "Writing about hot air balloons and fireworks". Yesterday after I gave her a very meaningful glare and pointed at it she went "oh, oops" and stopped coming, so I think it's just a matter of her getting used to it. Two years ago I wouldn't lock myself up in my room to write unless it was NaNo, so she didn't know. :)

But yeah, overall they're all very supportive. My mom insists to read anything I allow her to and my dad helped me pay for the Vegas trip. My other sister insists that I come and write at her house while she writers on her thesis, which I try to avoid because she keeps asking me questions about that sentence or that word, and it's very distracting. But I love her, and when I'm not way behind I go for the company.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: Family interference

Post by Cameron D James » July 7th, 2012, 1:34 pm

I have the opposite problem. My partner writes fantasy and works a lot harder on it than I do on my own stuff (well, maybe not "harder," but our working styles are different and so it appears that he's working endlessly).

So quite often I get this:
Partner: "Shouldn't you be writing?"
Me: "Um, I did like 1000 words earlier today."
Partner: "Then do another 1000."

I guess I can't complain since he supports me immensely and it's because of him and his support that I finally see writing as something that I can actually pursue seriously and not just as a hobby that might make an occasional sale if I'm lucky.

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