Family Support

This week we've chatted about cyber friends and real live friends. Today, let's take a step even closer to home. In fact, let's open the door and step inside!

Does your family support your writing? Some of you touched on this yesterday, but let's explore it further.

How supportive is your extended family, the ones who don't live with you? My mom is one of my best encouragers. She is the first person I call with any writing news. When I got my first notice in the mail that one of my short fiction pieces was going to be published, within minutes I was doing a jig on the phone with her.

What about intermediate family, the ones who have to live with a writing-crazed fanatic? How supportive are they of your writing? When my twins play Barbies, their dolls are writers who are always busy on their lap tops. My three year old pretends the calculator is her lap top and she sits at the table next to me and does her "writing."

In all seriousness, we long for support from our families. We want them to be our loudest, most excited cheerleaders. But in reality, they often get the brunt of the writing burden. They get less of our time, energy, and attention. Even when we're not writing, our minds are filled with our stories instead of them.

If we want our extended and intermediate family to support our writing, I think it's important to involve them in the journey. I'm still learning how to balance writing and family time. But here are a few ways I involve my family in the excitement:
  • Share daily goals: My kids regularly ask me, "Mom, did you meet your word count goals for the day?" Even my three year old will ask me, as if she has any clue what word count is!
  • Plan a family celebration for writing milestones: After I finished writing my last book, we went out to dinner to celebrate the accomplishment as a family. When I finish my current WIP, I want to have a party!
  • Thank them their understanding: I'm planning to take my family on a special vacation once I finally publish a book. I've told them that will be my thank you to them for helping me accomplish my dream.

Back to my original questions: How supportive is your extended family? How about your intermediate family? And what are ways you've learned to involve them on your writing journey? I would love more ideas!


  1. I cheated this morning and got online! ;) I wanted to get my online stuff out of the way so I can hunker down and write this afternoon.

    I would have to say, YES, may family is very supportive. They don't ask me about word count, but my daughter ASKED to read my WIP and read all 250 pages in one day/night and said she absolutely loved it. I haven't let my dad read it...waiting on the the first edit before I let his seasoned eyes see it. Oh, and the biggest support. It was my children's idea to get me this new, fabulous laptop for Mother's Day. They said I needed a new one to help me with my novel. I just cried with joy.

  2. The hubby is probably more supportive now that I have a book out. He asks me more questions about what I'm working on and what I just finished.
    And if I'm not at the computer, he'll say, "Hey, shouldn't you be finishing that book your working on?" LOL!

    My in-laws have been wonderful, too. Both my father-in-law AND mother-in-law read my writing and even send me encouraging e-mails. :)It's sweet.

  3. I loved your three tips, Jody! Man, I need to do more of that. My husband is very supportive of my writing - but he can't help but get a little exasperated at times. When I write, I get into a zone... I hear/see nothing but the screen. It's not good. I need to celebrate more often with him, and thank him much more than I do for all his support and encouragement. He is always my first reader. He believes in me more than I believe in myself. I couldn't ask for a better guy. Thanks for the post!

  4. Sherrinda: I think you had to get online so that you could use that nifty new lap top! That's so cool that your daughter read your book and loved it! I'm sure your dad will be an enormous help at some point!

    Jennifer: When hubby sees dollar signs, it's a little easier to support the endeavor, isn't it? :) It's hard for them to see us in this "business" making absolutely no money and seemingly very little progress forward. So when they can see something tangilbe, that helps!

    Katie: That's so cool that your husband can be your first reader and that he really believes in you! What a gift!

  5. My immediate, in-house family: Kids are supportive... mostly:-) They don't like that I spend so much time on the computer and I need to watch that too, because I don't WANT them to suffer. My 5-yr-old told me she wanted to be just like me when she grows up. I said, "really?" and she said, "Yeah, I wanna play on the computer just like you!" I frowned of course. LOL

    Hubby is great... most of the time. Actually, really, he is great. He doesn't understand a lot of the times, but he patiently listens to me drone on about a character's situation and occassionaly gives me good ideas. I'm SO thankful for him!

    My extended family: The jury is still out on this. My mother is SUPER SUPER supportive. Obviously she thinks I'm awesome and does NOT understand why these genius publishing people have picked her my book yet *grin*

    And my sisters are supportive... but I think they get tired of talkinga bout it too. They don't understand it, but they try!

    So overall, my family is awesome with it! I am indeed blessed!

  6. When I got serious about writing, my family took me serious. I'm blessed to be able to write while they are all working and in school, but there are still times when I can't get everything done.

    They're all supportive--as long as they know I'm available from 5:00 on! The time/balance issue will be something I'll have to deal with for years to come.

    It's NOT easy.
    My husband is terrific. He always has the right thing to say (even if I don't always want to hear it!).

  7. That's so fun how your family is involved, Jody. What a blessing!

    My sisters and mom and dad can't wait to hear that I'm published. It's been a few years since I came out of the closet about my writing with them so those initial naive ideas that it would happen any day has long passed. Now they just ask me every once in a while how it's going. They never press, which is great, but yet I know they're genuinely interested. One sister, every new years puts "this will be the year of publication" for my new years resolutions. She's such an encourager.

    As for my immediate family, my hubby has been my greatest supporter. He even goes as far as calling me through the days when I'm in a slump to encourage me to meet my daily goal.

    My daughters have evolved through the years to be distant encouragers, let's say. Since I rarely do writing stuff in their presence, it doesn't really affect them, and so I don't think they realize how heavily involved I am in this writing journey. To them, if I was really serious, I should have been published long ago, I'm sure. Time at their age goes much slower, so I've been writing for eons to them. Every once a rare while one of them will venture to ask if I've sent anything out, and they'll offer generic advice about what type of stories they think I should write. But for the most part, I'm a stay-at-home mom who does nothing all day because their junk is still where they left it in the morning before they got on the bus. Kind of depressing, isn't it.

    Perhaps I need to get them more involved like you, Jody. I'll pray on that.

  8. I ask them to read small portions of what I have recently written and ask their opinion of it. This helps them to feel a part of the process.

  9. My husband has been very supportive. He's even helping me build a platform. I am truly blessed to have a web designer as a husband. We have had so much fun working on my blog and (WIP) Website. My children aren't completely aware of me being a writer, but they like what the understand. My 8yr old has even taken up writing herself :)

    My sisters have aided in the editing of my book, which has been very helpful. My one sister has even put me in touch with a friend who does editing professional who helped me TREMENDOUSLY in the writing portion.

    My parents support me, but don't really get it. They want me to succeed, but they know it's a BIG dream. (One that I fully intend to make come true!)

  10. I'm blessed with the support I get from nuclear and extended family, and further, from my writing group. And then there's this beautiful network of blogging pals! My twin sister writes as well, so that's nice we have each other on the journey.

  11. I'd say it's a good question. My husband and sons cheer for me when I bring them writing news. They know that I write but don't really ask about it much, partly because they don't see me doing as much as they should. (I tend to write in snatches when I'm alone.) But they did a "man weekend" so I could go to a retreat last year. I've never asked them to read for me, because Hubby doesn't do much fiction but I might.

    My mom knows I write but I don't get to share much because she's in a nursing home in another state. To my surprise, I discovered my mil reads my blog regularly, so she's up on all the latest news! My sister also writes, and that's been a common thing that's drawn us closer together.

  12. I read so much of my stuff to my mom, I'm amazed at her focus over the phone. My daughter is really excited her 1st grade class is having a publishing celebration. She knows how wonderful it feels to be published...and my husband, let's just say, I can be like the zone and he is not a reader/writer so my world becomes a little foreign to him, but he encourages me anyway.

    ~ Wendy

  13. I don't think I could write as much as I do without my family's support. We brainstorm together, they edit, proof, cheer. They're "my people," for sure, who have been with me on this journey and know much about the ins and outs of the publishing business ... I think they feel like they have a vested interest in me ;)

  14. Everyone: I just read your comments and am enjoying hearing how your families support you! It's so fun to get a glimpse into your lives!

    Krista: I get the "you're always on the computer, Mom!" So you're not alone! But at least they know I'm writing and have accepted it!

    Jill: Great point! They will take us more seriously if we approach our writing with dedication and professionalism!

    Eileen: That's too funny about the junk still being on the floor when they get home! But it's probably good for them to learn that you're not their personal maid service! How awesome that your hubby calls you to check in on you!

    Warren: I like your idea of reading portions to get their opinion!

    Marybeth: You are SO lucky to have your husband be able to design your website and blog! Oooh, I'm jealous!! And how fantastic that you've gotten linked up to an editor. Connections, baby!

    Angie: How cool to have a twin sister and then to share a love of writing!

    Patricia: I wouldn't ever ask my hubby to read for me either! He's not a fiction guy. I think the last fiction he read was his required reading in HS. They can definitely support us in other ways, like when we go to a conference. That's huge!

    Wendy: How exciting for your daughter to experience publishing! Maybe she'll be the writer someday and you'll be able to cheer her on! I always wonder which of my children will end up a writer like me! Will be fun to see!

    Joanne: Sounds like a wonderful support system! You are really blessed!

  15. There are two aspiring authors in my extended family, and we will occasionally check in with eachother about our WIP's.
    My Hubby and munchkin on the other hand, are my cheerleaders. They don't help with my writing at all (they distract me more than anything), but they do cheer me up and keep me going when I need it.

  16. My family means a lot to me, but they don't understand my need to write much. My father in law understands, I think. But he's the closest I've got. I still share and thank them for their support. I couldn't get to where I'm going without them!

  17. My entire family supports me - it's truly awesome. I love it when I have some exciting news to share with them all.

  18. Wow. I'm floored that your kids care about your word count. That is a blessing. My DD (7) would rather I lose my laptop. I write when she is busy or away but still she has not warmed up to the idea.

  19. Jody;
    My immediate family is understanding 'to a point.' I think they get weary of me asking, "Do you want to hear this article?" and "What's a better word for path?" They are very kind, though, and never complain. I just know I'm neglecting my hus when he pops into the computer room and says, "Are you doing okay?" What I think he really means is "I'm alone out here! Notice me!"

    I don't talk about my writing with extended family: my parents have enormous troubles of thier own, and others would not understand. I'm kind of in my own little world, which can be lonely. If it weren't for cyber buddies and my immediate family and a couple of crit partners, I'd be on this path (what's a better word for path?) with Just Jesus.

  20. quixotic: How fun to have two other writers in your family! You can probably learn a lot from each other!

    Lady Glamis: Your family should be really proud. You work really hard at your writing!

    Melissa: Sounds like you are really blessed! BTW, the new pic is adorable!

    T. Anne: My kiddos aren't always so supportive; my oldest son and I had a discussion today about my writing and how he thinks it's made me grumpy lately! :)

    Jeanette: I think you have a tough situation trying to work, write, and be a pastor's wife (plus caregiving for parents). You have so many responsibilities clamoring for your time that it must be hard to write and have time for hubby! Often we are alone in this venture, but if we're doing what God has called us to, then we know he's with us, right?

  21. My husband is supportive...kind of. He's very hands off, and I refuse to let him read my writing until a couple more edits - so part of that is my fault. He has no qualms with interrupting my writing session to tell me something. But he's also happy that I'm doing something I enjoy and doesn't mind taking care of my little one so I can write.

  22. My mother always kind of tolerated my writing. I think she thought it was a phase or something. She doesn't like to read my stuff, actually, which I don't get because it's in general a genre that she enjoys. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable that she feels this way.

    My husband is a non-reader. He thinks I'm crazy, and he also thinks of it as a hobby. I'll say, "When I sell my book ..." and he'll give me a self-indulgent smirk that makes me want to punch him (and I'm a non-violent person).

    My daughters I think wish I spent less time writing, but they are ironically more supportive than the adults in my life.

    Good question : )

  23. My husband was always supportive. He provided accountability, funds to attend conferences, and read my work.

    Mom often asks how the writing is going and brags to her friends about her daughter, the writer.

    My gift to them: turning off the computer and spending the day with them. It's way too easy to get lost in a fictional world and forget I have a life.

    Thanks, Jodi, for an excellent post.

    Susan :)

  24. Joyce: I think that my husband is very similar to yours. He's hands off in the writing aspect, but he's supportive of me and wants me to be happy.

    KLo: Sounds like you're paddling upstream with your family! I hope you have a good writing group that encourages you!

    Susan: I like the idea of turning off the computer and spending the day with family as a gift to them! Thank you!

  25. Honestly, even though members of my family say they support me, I don't think they really BELIEVE I'll ever get published. No, they haven't read my work, so it's not that I can't write. They just don't see writing as a serious career. At least they're nice enough to act as though they're excited for me. ;) I'll show them!

    Lynnette Labelle

  26. Hi Lynnette,
    It is really hard for families to understand the whole writing life and how hard it is to get published! So since we're not published yet, they tend to not take us as seriously! That's so hard!


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