An open letter to the writers whose friends don’t get it

To whom it may concern,

How are things going with you these days? I was wondering if, when you started writing or later even, if your friends and family didn’t ‘get it’? Whether they struggled with why you’d be interested in that or were worried about it being a risky pursuit?

I know some of my friends just didn’t understand. Once I gave a short story to one of them that I was going to enter into a competition (I never did, I was much lazier then). When she gave it back she asked “If you win, will you stop?” I couldn’t even process why she would think to ask that. I said something like, “Why would I stop when I just found out I was good.”

My high school friends accepted that I wasn’t going to stop and this was just who I am a while ago but they’ve only just reached the point when they ask me about my writing. Now I’ve moved here though and I feel like I’ve gone backwards. I’m starting to make some writer friends through the writers centre etc., but the others are not too interested. I can’t blame them, I suppose, and some are really good. They’ve even read a story or two, or asked to. One of them, who I’ve somehow become close to, has no idea. He doesn’t even read, just doesn’t value it, especially fiction and especially Sci Fi and Fantasy. I’ve always just taken peoples digs, laughed along and been self-deprecating but I think if I don’t at least try to explain why I write I might explode.

The other day, someone else I met asked how work was going and I assumed he meant work work so I said I was unemployed but he meant my degree. When I told him I was going to have a story published I was ready for him not to care but he seemed genuinely excited and that took me by surprise. I shouldn’t expect people not to care.

I think it might be worth explaining why I write, or what it involves, to those who don’t know. Last time I visited my parents I was having coffee with my dad and he suggested it was maybe time to move on (aka. give up). I got quite upset, and in a ranting sort of way explained how hard I was working at it. “I write every day. I am constantly revising. I submit work regularly to journals and magazines. When I rejected I resubmit.” He had had no idea that his process was going on. He didn’t see it, how could he know if I didn’t tell him. He was relieved and happy. One month later I got my first two acceptance emails.

I don’t think I should blame others for not understanding, how can I when I’ve never made an effort to help them. How can they ask questions when they don’t know what to ask about.

If I try harder, maybe they will too.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Sarah

2 Replies to “An open letter to the writers whose friends don’t get it”

  1. Hey Sarah, (great name by the way ;))

    Thanks for sharing this post. I know the experiences you’re talking about. I generally keep it quiet that my deepest passion in this world is to be a writer. But it feels so good to get your work out there!

    I’m enjoying exploring your site 🙂 Keep up the awesome work.

    Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

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