Unexpected Support for a Writer’s Ambition

The support I’ve gotten from all my dear readers on my writing has been fantastic. Never in all my life have I felt like so many people believe in my words. In fact, I can name the three lone people who ever treated my dream of writing and publishing a book like it was an achievable goal. One is a high school teacher, the other is a college teacher/mentor and the last is my boyfriend. It wasn’t until I heard some disparaging words from my mother a few weeks ago that I realized how many more people should be added to that list.

Half jokingly, I said something in front of my parents about wasting time writing my book. I won’t lie, it can feel like that. This is something I’ve wanted since I was 10 and it can still feel like a child’s fancy. I don’t know how many people really had confidence in my ability when I was so young. So, it surprised me when, without hesitation, my mother said “aw, you think it’s a waste of time?”

Other things were said and the conversation moved on to other topics, but those words stuck with me. In a way. they haunted me. My mom looked so sad to hear my no-so-funny joke. How long had she had true faith in my writing?

When I was struggling to overcome depression and low self-esteem, one of the things I realized was that I never acknowledged the feelings of others. When someone told me I was their friend, I thought they were just saying that. They were just being nice, but didn’t really consider me a friend. How insulting, to deny a feeling someone expresses to you! Of course, it took me years to figure out how rude I was being.

This photo, “Enlightenment” is copyright (c) 2014 jDevaun and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “Enlightenment” is copyright (c) 2014 jDevaun and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

I supposed bad habits die-hard, because I’ve been doing it again, talking about my book here and there without really believing in the supportive words people expressed. I was so impacted by those few words from my mother. Somewhere along the way, I grew out of the little girl who wanted to write books for a living and into the woman who was doing her best to follow a logical, reliable path to publishing a novel.

Sometimes, I am disappointed in the things I can’t talk to my parents about. I get that there are things that just aren’t shared, like tips on good sex and such. Yet, I like discussing politics, religion and social issues. I wouldn’t mind being able to talk to my parents, hear the logic behind their thoughts and have a real discussion about something. Unfortunately, I learned long ago to approach those topics with extreme caution. I approach anything that might take my parents aback with that level of caution.

My writing is on the list of cautionary topics because it’s related to my interests in manga, anime and video games. These are some of the things that inspire my writing and they were things my parents scoffed at. They were ‘phases’ I would get over, at which point I would realize how much money I wasted.

When I sought my degree in journalism, the value of my interests was questioned again as my father called local newspapers, asking about salary and the possibility of advancement. He well-meaningly panicked (in my opinion) over my choice, fearing I’d never be able to make enough money to support myself with that education. While his intentions were good, the impact of his disbelief has stuck with me. Did he think I choose my degree without my own research? I was going to be fine.

I’m not sure of my father’s opinion on my book writing, but he is quite proud of where I am in life so far. I guess the journalism degree wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I’m used to that path in life, trying to succeed in something people say I’ll never succeed in. My writing is no different. I often feel like I’m fighting the world, working against near insurmountable challenges.

I once read somewhere (on a website that seems to have disappeared from existence, since I have never found it again) that 1% of all people who say they want to write a book ever will. Of those who do write a book, only 1% will be professionally publish. If that’s not a challenge, I don’t know what is.

Perhaps I’ve rejected the support of others up to this point because I’m afraid my writing will be horrible. I’m afraid all this effort will be worthless and I’ll disappoint everyone. Support is a great motivator, but it also puts a lot of pressure on me. Maybe I couldn’t handle that when I was 10. Today, I promise to henceforth accept all support, pressure and all.

My mother reminded me that I have far more than those three people believing in my writing. My friends and family, they are all behind me. The boyfriend may be the only one who thinks I can become famous enough he can quit his job (I have no problem with a stay-at-home husband. I never want to clean), but I have a lot of support. I’ll never joke about my writing being a waste of time again. This is the only time; this is my chance.

Have you ever refused to believe someone felt the way they said they did? Have you ever had someone deny what you’re feeling? What goes through your  mind when someone refuses to believe you feel the way you say you do? Do you do anything today that, as a child, people said was just a phase? Are you happy you retained that interest from childhood?


22 thoughts on “Unexpected Support for a Writer’s Ambition”

  1. I relate to so many of your feelings. I am thirty eight years old and have spent my most formative years trying to please my parents. When I started the university in ’94 I wanted to be a social work major. My father, a brilliant journalist and translator, laughed aloud and told me to find a real ambition. It stung me deeply. I switched to English and was good at it. But my heart wasn’t in the game.

    I dropped out of school in ’98 and re enrolled in 2013. I have a year left before graduation. My major?

    It’s social work with a concentration in family and child services. And my parents are excited to see me graduate. These are life lessons that my parents and I both learned about honoring one’s path.

    Thank you for sharing with us 💜

    1. I’m happy to know my thought process wasn’t abnormal. Your parents, like mine, probably didn’t mean harm. Still, their well intentioned words hurt. I’m happy you pushed through to go on the path you feel called to.

  2. I think most of us would relate to this post. I loved sketching when I was young. My mother told me repeatedly how most artists die starving and unrecognised and I should find something more useful to do with my time. while I often wonder what my life would have been had i pursued art, I also know she only meant the best for me.

    In the recent years, I have worked sporadically at getting back to art: I sketch, have a small sketch pad near my bed, have bought myself pencil colours, paints brushes, and I paint with my children whenever i find the time.

    Those who see my sketches do tell me my work is fairly good, but I have not really taken up any courses or pursued it seriously again. I keep asking myself why would anyone be interested in my art, when there are already so many wonderful creative and imaginative artists out there. May be your post will push me to find an answer.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’ve got bad news for you, I still feel that way. Who in the world will want to read my work. It makes no sense. But I’m not writing and your not sketching for someone else. You do it for you. And it’s okay to do it for you. It’s a way if leaving your mark on the world. When you’re gone from this plane of existence, what will be left? And if you pursue your sketches, maybe even growing a small amount of fame, what then? Even if the only person who ever wonders about your genius is your great great great great grandchild who unearthed it from some forgotten attic, it’s worth the pursuit. It’s through creating and leaving our mark on the world that we live on.

  3. Wow, there is so much that could be said about the things you wrote here. First and foremost, I have always had the philosophy that passion is the essence of vocation, so money means little if you’re not passionate about you’re work. So, you have to focus on that aspect of the vocation you’re choosing…and it appears you have done that. And what I know about parents – especially fathers – is that they know that they won’t be taking care of you forever, so their desire is that you are “set-up” financially to be able to care for yourself…it’s the goal of every parent – care for their children. Also, parents, typically want their kids to be happy and content in their lives.

    As to some of the other things you’ve mentioned, it is obvious that you might have not fully appreciated someone’s feelings initially, but it is quite obvious from this post that you have grown into that appreciation – and that is a good thing! You’re able to recognize it. Unfortunately, there are people who fail to come to the recognition that someone cares for them until it’s too late to do anything about it.

    Now, I just recently connected to you on here, so I’m not familiar with much about you yet, but I get the distinct feeling that when you finally publish your book you will have a dedication page in which you call out people like your teachers, boyfriend and parents. You seem very hearfelt about your appreciation.

    1. Appreciation is important to me. I spent a good part of my life feeling like few people really cared about me. I want people to know how much they mean to me.

      It’s also why I try to fully explain myself, especially when I can tell someone isn’t understanding what I’m saying. I did it with my brother. He choose a path of secondary education that I did not agree with. The way I saw it, a different path would suit him better. I made sure first and foremost that he knew I would support him no matter what his decision, but I wanted him to understand why I thought the one path was better.

      He did not follow my advice, but he also is not failing at life. He listened, accepted and made the decision that he felt was right for him. I felt good about his decision knowing he understood why I thought the way I did but, most importantly, understood I would always support him. That’s the line that was missing from my father. He was just worried and never stopped to say “but I will always support you.”

      I mean, he does now… and he had before. But in that conversation, he did not seem to.

  4. Thankfully my parents and grandparents were always supportive of my plans for my life, even if they didn’t quite “get” my motivation. My problem was more that I was living in a culture of poverty of aspiration. To have no goals, no ambitions, no plan you were putting into action was the absolute norm. That filtered even into the school system. When I started applying for tertiary education at 16, my guidance counsellor was baffled and bemused about why I would want to continue in education rather than just try to get a job. I even had to send away for the prospectuses and application forms myself and figure it out without any input from teaching staff. That just made me want to achieve even more.

    1. That’s crazy to me. Schools should promote college education, not push students away from that. They idea that a high school teacher would push anyone away from those pursuits baffles me.

  5. Writers often talk about how hard it is to work on a book and have no idea how it will be received. At least blogging helps to provide some of that support.

    And I’ve heard that when people look at regrets after a long life, their biggest regrets are about the things they never tried pursuing.

    1. Yeah, I don’t expect much from this book. What i want is the feeling of accomplishment. That feeling will hopefully propel me to writing greater books. As far as I’m concerned, finishing a terrible book is better than writing no book at all.

  6. Funny how we never quite outgrow the need to please our parents. Hopefully my own kids won’t be in therapy some day telling said therapist that mom never accepted them. I’ve given everything I have in me so they would never feel that way.

    1. hahaha. I’m sure your kids will be fine. The need to please one’s parents all depends on the parents. I think it’s hard for some parents to truly accept children for who they are if they don’t agree with who their child wants to be. At the end of the day, my parents did a great job. When I was older, I had a good discussion with my mom. She told me people would often feel sorry for her, because I wasn’t much of an athlete. My mom loved sports and I didn’t, so we couldn’t connect on that level. But my mom supported my writing and my speeches. She let me be myself even if she didn’t always understand what I was interested in or why.

  7. As a child I knew I didn’t want to have a wedding or children. I was always told it was a phase and I’ll change my mind later in life. SHOCKER I haven’t :/
    When people would say that to me, as a child, I felt enraged. I was insulted by the fact that people thought just because they made those decisions, and it’s what others do, that I too would follow suit whether I thought I would or not.
    In regards to your writings, I think your blog is a great read. I often talk about my friend TK who’s a professional blogger and currently writing a book. I know that being vain is frowned upon by society, but you know, there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn every now and again to remind yourself that you are creating for yourself the life you’ve always dreamed of 🙂

    1. Man, I could come up with a long list of things I was told were phases I’d grow out of. I’m still involved in most of them today. ^_^ And awww, I love having a fan! I hope I can make you proud.

  8. I do sometimes wonder if I’m wasting my time writing. But then I remind myself that I’m wasting my time when I’m NOT writing. Even if no one but me ever reads my stories, I want to be able to say I accomplished something I’m proud of.

    1. “I do sometimes wonder if I’m wasting my time writing. But then I remind myself that I’m wasting my time when I’m NOT writing.”

      True words my friend

  9. Thanks for sharing this post. Your insights on writing resonated with me. Whatever the talent one feels within oneself — writing, fine arts, dance, music, and many others — you just have to trust the inner voice. And you have done that. Brava! Keep being true to that voice!

  10. I have wanted to be a writer since I was at primary school but only started seriously pursuing it a few years ago. Even then I showed no-one my work until finally I shared some of my poetry with my husband to help him understand me and my history better. I then shared it with a friend from work. Eventually my husband and I went to a writing group together as a results of which we are now half way through a novel. I have since written more than 150 blogs posts and a whole load more poetry, not all of which I have shared. I am still blown away when I meet people in my friendship group who read my blog and say they enjoy it. I am still like, “Really?” However I think that is like any artist, we never fully believe in ourselves and perhaps that keeps us humble.

    1. I think it does keep us humble. No one likes the person who knows they are good. It’s like a hot person who knows their hot. Something just turns you off from that.

      Besides, if we doubt ourselves, they we will always question ourselves, which can only make us better.

  11. TK…From an older perspective, I’ve gone back to my childhood to remember how bravery, hope and optimism got me where I wanted to be in this world…as a nurse practitioner. Today I’m using bravery, hope and optimism to get where I want to go…as a writer! Writing about that journey from childhood in Happily Ever After encourages me to write everyday. Yes, it’s great to have family and friend supporters, but in the end belief in yourself is what matters. Keep writing, I’m one of your new interested readers!

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