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  1. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dealing with people who think your dreams of writing are unrealistic.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TDFuhringer, Feb 6, 2012.

    How do you deal with people who genuinely care about you so they speak up and try to convince you that your dreams of becoming a published author are unrealistic?

    I'm not referring to false friends or acquaintances you can shrug off. I mean people who really matter. Parents. Life Partners. People you can't just tell to 'eff off'.

    What do you say? How do you convince them you are serious, motivated and have a better than average chance of success?

    I've been hurt recently by well-intentioned people who love me and have suggested I try a different career path.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    Well, I'm hoping you have a job... if you don't then getting one might calm them down.

    But the fact is the only way you can prove them wrong is by getting published.
     
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  3. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sigh. When you're right, you're right RusticOnion. I recently quit my job. I'm fine financially and can get away with not working or doing very little work for a few months but that doesn't seem to satisfy people.

    I've GOT to get my book done.

    Sadly though, if I fail to get published, they will be in an 'I told you so' position, and I will feel it even if they are kind enough to never say it. If I succeed in getting published, I will likely resent them for not believing in me. Maybe I'm the problem in this equation. Maybe I should just let people say whatever they want and completely ignore them.
     
  4. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    My mom doesn't think that becoming a writer is a good idea. And she also knows literally nothing about writing herself. And so I do not listen to what she says, the finding something else part I simply ignore. It is your life, your rules, your choices. Find what suits you best and do what you think is best for yourself. When it comes to you only you know best.
    Parents tend to have 'preferences' regarding their children's future jobs, and generally not liking whatever they choose, always thinking that they should go for something even better. They are quite narrow-minded. They have to accept that it is your life not theirs, and whatever choices you make they must accept and ultimately approve.
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Becoming a writer is not dependant on instant success. A lot of writers struggled with a few manuscripts until they finally got published. In that sense, unless you have lots of money, or someone to support you financially, it might be best to keep working and write in your spare time until you become successful, at which point you can comfortably quit all other work and work full time.
     
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  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, as RusticOnion said, the only way to prove you can get published is to get published.

    On the other hand, if they're saying you shouldn't count on making a living via writing, they're almost 100% correct. The vast majority of published writers cannot support themselves (let alone a family) on their writing income alone. And for those who can, it's taken years to get to that point. One book, even a bestseller, most likely will not be sufficient. Possible? Sure. Probable? No.

    Reality check - get a job/career that will support you and keep writing on the side. (And accept that they have your best interests at heart.)
     
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  7. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    I think the best thing for you to do is to get another job, you never know what might pop up, and suddenly those savings might not seem so abundant. It also takes a long time to get a book up to publishing standard, a long time to find a publisher and an even longer time for it to actually be ready for sale (I think around a year.)

    Yeah, getting published would be great, the thing is that you have a long time to get published, but the longer it takes you the more you diminish your savings and the more your loved ones will stress.

    Don't be so binary about this problem, it's not really about getting published, it's about supporting yourself financially, you can work and write your book in your free time, this will reduce everyone's stress, which will actually help your writing. Besides, if it turns out you are good enough to support yourself with your writing you can always quit again.

    Lastly, even if you get rejected by every publisher in the known world, there are still other opions, you could upload it as an e-book, or work on it until it's satisfactory.
     
  8. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the plan! I am job hunting, I'm just not job hunting all day. :)

    I just thought since everything outside of job hunting is spare time, I might as well take advantage of it.

    That's a very good point. Maybe I'm getting worked up for something that's not so big.
     
  9. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    Hey, your dreams are being questioned, it's natural to feel a tad over-defensive. But trust me, you have your whole life to prove them wrong.
     
  10. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    :D I am pleased by this!
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    well, if you have a job and write in your free time I don't see why anyone should have anything to say. We all have our hobbies and not all of them will lead to a career.
     
  12. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Realistically speaking, your dreams of becoming a published author are unrealistic. They are, you have to accept that. But, you have to look at the big picture and accept that you probably will not get something published that will turn you into a literary icon. There are other ways to get by through writing, and you can work your way up. Literature is everywhere, language is everywhere, so say you work in advertising or as junior editor etc etc and write for years on the side, and attend editing groups where you have peers edit your work... see where I'm going?

    You have to look at the big picture. What anyone says is irrelevant, really. Take it one day at a time, don't primarily focus on getting published asap, because it's something that you have to hone and work at and you learn many things on the way there. If you are constantly annoyed that others don't believe in you, you will be overwhelmed until the end of time.
     
  13. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    I'm not so sure about that, alot of terrible books (in my opinion atleast,) get published all the time.
     
  14. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aren't dreams (vs goals) supposed to push the limits? What's wrong with being unrealistic? If every scientist or author or inventor stopped every time someone with authority said 'you're being unrealistic', the world would be a very boring place. :)

    EDIT: And to clarify, I'm not annoyed that others don't believe in me. I'm hurt that the people I expected to be supportive, regardless of my choices, are not only not being supportive, they are trying to hold me back.
     
  15. Dragon Boy
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    If people close to you tell you to consider another career path, it is most likely because they think your perceived chance of success is a bit exaggerated. As long as you do know that above average chance of success is still pretty slim I guess you are better off ignoring them. Even if you do get published you will not make a fortune overnight and you will need to have another source of income.

    That being said, you should never let go of your dreams because of peer pressure.
     
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  16. Dragon Boy
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    Dragon Boy Member

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    I did not mean to double post, I had a problem with my browser.
     
  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know... If you don't believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you. If I told myself that becoming a famous author is unrealistic, I'd just throw away my writing and go do something else.
    It is important to aim high. Just make sure that they are not discouraging you because they think your writing is awful. Because if they think that, then they should tell you exactly what they don't like about it, so you can use that to improve. In the beginning, everyone makes the same mistakes, but these are easily overcome with a bit of attention to detail and practice (and editing).
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I know what you mean. My wife is generally supportive, but becomes less so if she feels that everything is going into writing and nothing anywhere else (a legitimate concern). Being in my late 50s, and having shared a road with her that was extremely difficult at times for both of us (due to factors beyond our control), I find that the best thing is to keep my dreams/plans of published works to myself. She is aware that some of my writings have drawn sporadic professional interest, but the lack of anything beyond that has convinced her it is a hobby. With retirement not too far over the horizon, I have taken several opportunities that getting published is something I will be more involved in then, when she is involved in various things she is planning. I keep telling her that the two keys to a married couple's successful retirement are 1) adequate financial planning and 2) having firm plans to do some things together and other things apart.

    How you deal with it depends partly on who is unaccepting and what stage of life you are at. If it is a parent and you are still "in the nest" (or just out of it), you should feel free to assert your independence as much as your circumstances allow. By that I mean that parents with adult children living at home often feel they have the right/duty to exercise parental control over them. And while lack of support from them may sting you, it shouldn't hold you back. OTOH, if you are being financially supported by family, and that family is threatening to revoke that support if you continue to pursue a career as a published writer, then you may have to trim your sails a bit until you are in a more independent position.

    If it is a spouse (or some firmly committed adult relationship with an expectation of permanence), then it's more difficult. Because once your adult life is entwined with another, you cannot simply act without regard for that other person. You are no longer "I" but rather part of an integrated "we" (at least if it is a truly committed relationship). And if that's the case with you, then I think you need to let that other person know that writing is not "just a hobby" for you, but at the same time give him/her the assurance that (s)he needs that you will not put your writing ahead of the needs of your relationship. From then on, it becomes a balancing act made more or less difficult by life's circumstances.

    Now, there are some who will read that last bit and say, "No, you have to be true to yourself. You must put your writing first." You can do that, but you will either destory the relationship or beset it with problems. My advice above is based on the assumption that the relationship is a central fact of your life and you prize it and want to protect it.

    Sorry this is somewhat scattershot. If you want (or need) to be more specific, please PM me.

    Best of luck.
     
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  19. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wonderful replies!

    @G-Max: I have no intentions of letting go of my dreams :)

    @Jazzabel: You are right, it IS important to aim high. And so far no one has said anything negative about my writing other than not liking the subject matter. To each his own taste.

    @Ed: Your primary assumption is correct. Also I think I may have to 'keep it to myself' until I win a contest or publish an article or short story, something I can show and say 'See? I can do this!'
     
  20. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    Don't worry about what other people think. You have to do what's right for you.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    HEE! Ah I feel better now after a good laugh. :D
     
  22. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, I have both supports and naysayers in my life - my mum is very much a supporter. She'll tell me to go for it, work hard to make my dreams come true, and there's the added bonus that she actually thinks I'm a good writer and enjoys my stories. Then I have my dad, who says 'yes, it's a nice dream and I think you do write quite well, but....'

    a) it's not a living
    b) getting published is really hard
    c) you need a fall back option
    d) lots of people never make it
    e) .........

    Is it any wonder that I don't let my dad read my stories? :D
     
  23. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. I'm thinking maybe we have the same father? :)
     
  24. louis1
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    Here's a quote that always motivates me. ''I'm a fuckin' unicorn, and fuck anybody who says I'm not.''
    yep. even if it's parents or boyfriend/girlfriend. fuck them. seriously.
     
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  25. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm in a weird position on this. I have a roommate I've lived with for fifteen years. He thinks my ambitions to become a published, professional writer are absurd. On the other hand, he thinks I'm a very talented and skilled writer. Mixed signals, dude!

    He was ridiculing my ambitions to be a writer once, and I just confronted him directly about it: "Do not EVER mock my ambitions to be a published writer. Just don't. Writing means a lot to me, and it really, really hurts when you do that."

    He hesitated a bit, realizing he'd stepped over the line, and said, "Okay." He hasn't said anything negative about my writing since. (I haven't let him read anything I've written for about five years or so ...)
     
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