Sometimes People Just Don't Understand

One night when I was tucking my six year old son into bed he asked, “Mom, when are you going to be done with your writing?”

I wrinkled my brow. “What do you mean, honey?”

“Will you be finished once you’re done writing this book?”

I brushed my hand over his stubbly hair. “Nope. I have to write another after this one.”

“Oh.” His big brown eyes peered up at me and melted my heart. “I liked it better when you didn’t have to sit at the computer so much.”

How could I possibly explain to a six year old the honor of getting a three book deal with a major publishing company? How could his little mind comprehend the magnitude of my lifetime dream coming true? How could he ever conceive how hard I’d worked to get to this point?

To him, my writing is an inconvenience, something he’d like to go away, much like an annoying cold. And sometimes I get the feeling others in my life think the same thing as my six year old, only they have the tact not to say it those exact words.

The fact is that family and friends won’t always understand the scope of the writing life and the dreams we have. Usually they express that misunderstanding in subtle ways.

Sometimes we get a blank, disinterested look when we start talking about our writing. Other times we get the feeling they think we’re obsessed with it. Even worse is when a friend knows how excited we are about writing, but doesn’t ask us about it—as if it’s a taboo topic.

Friends and family may not "get" our love of writing on a personal level. And quite frequently they don't know much about the publishing industry, period. We’ve all heard statements like these:

“Oh you’re a writer? Where can I buy your book?” Uh, the book isn’t out yet.

“I’ve got lots of story ideas too. If only I had more time. . .” As if we write because we have SO much more free time on our hands.

“You’re getting a book published? Wow, you’re going to be rich and famous like so-and-so author!” Yep. And I’m lucky I could actually use my advance to cover the cost of my printer ink this year.

Let’s face it, most people just don’t understand what it takes to get published. There are even writers who haven’t immersed themselves into the current publishing industry and who are naïve about the process of publication. I was ignorant before I made an effort to read agent and editor blogs.

The misunderstandings come from within our close circles and without. Sometimes they sting. Other times they downright stab. So how do we deal with them?

I couldn’t expect my 6 year old to comprehend the depths of my writing passion or the ins and outs of my writing career. And I really can’t expect others too either. I didn’t try to explain to my son the details of my contract and how many years I’ve been writing. Maybe I need to take the same approach with others:

Tell myself they probably won’t “get it.” But if they do, then I’ll make them my newest best friend for life. Seriously, is it really worth the effort to try to educate every person we talk to? Or is better just to point them in right direction with an agent blog or two?

Keep my complaints and irritation under wraps. Yes, it's easy to want to blog about the frustrations of dealing with all the mistakes and myths people have about writing and publishing. But I have to remember humiliating people isn't the answer. So I usually commiserate and vent with a few close writing friends who can truly understand.

Realize that I will probably misunderstand others at some point too. I won’t “get” things that are important to them. But hopefully I can use my own frustrations at being misunderstood to spur me to be more sensitive to the interests of others.

What about you? Have you experienced the frustration of having people misunderstand you and your writing? How do you deal with it?


  1. Jody I understand you completely. As you probably know, I live in Greece, so the few English speaking friends that I have in this country (and I mean British, American, or Australian, not Greek English speakers) aren't around enough for me to talk about my writing dramas. And when we do meet up, they are so consumed about their own dramas at the office, that mine seem like nothing to them. "Oh, but come on! You have the luxury to work from home, you earn money on freelance gigs and then have the time to indulge in your own writing. You've got it made! What have you got to whinge about?" Well, who am I going to whinge to? My fiance, whose second language is English, so he doesn't understand so well? My friends and family of Facebook? No way. I go to my fiance for comfort, and he offers me support in everything, but sometimes you really just need a girlfriend to rant to, you know? And, they just don't seem to understand how hard it is to actually 'indulge' when the majority of my time is spent freelancing to pay the bills. So, my recent relief from this is blogs like yours, where I get to talk about what's really on my mind. It's not as intimate as I'd like, but, for now it's good enough :)

  2. Yes! I've definitely been there. Thankfully, my husband isn't one of these people. He's so amazingly supportive....I don't deserve him at all.

    There are people who don't get it some coworkers, fellow teachers - who don't understand why I don't want to pour all my time and energy into teaching. It's a tough balance.

    I like your suggestions. I used to try and educate everybody. I'd dive into some speil like, "Oh, well, getting published is so hard. The average writer...." Blah, blah, blah and then I'd see their eyes glaze over. I think the root of my explanations grew from the soils of pride. I didn't want people thinking I didn't have what it takes. I didn't want people to think I was chasing a pipe dream.

    And anyway, why should I expect them to "get it"? It's hardly common knowledge. The only reason I "get it" is because it's my passion and I'm involved in it. There are loads of things I don't get, but others do. How silly of me to expect everybody else to adopt my passion.

    Great, wise stuff - as usual, Jody!

  3. Excellent post and so wise. Non-writers will never ever really "get it". How could they? As for the family, well, that's tough. Yesterday my husband commented on how much my life has changed since I got my laptop last year. Yes, it has. I don't have to share. I can do what I love to do! But I think he feels a little lonely. Sure, I need to evaluate and prioritize, but supportive as he is, he doesn't fully understand. :) Maybe some

  4. My sister opened my eyes to this truth. Even though I'm blessed with family that is supportive, they don't have the same kinetic writing energy that jolts me from the bed with a burning idea!

    I love that they love seeing me operate with passion and purpose. We are learning together to appreciate one anothers gifts.

  5. I totally get where you're coming from! I'd *hoped* that once a contract was under my belt, it would get better... thanks for bursting my bubble!!!

    GREAT story about your son. My 6 year old asked me the other day, "Mommy, when can I stop brushing my teeth?" Since I had just told her to go do so, I said, "I dunno, a minute maybe?" She replied, "No, like, when can I not do it anymore ever. It's boring."

    Um... when your teeth fall out because the rotted?? She didn't like that answer, and thankfully went and brushed her teeth:-)

    I think it's just an age that it's hard to understand the concept of "for the rest of your life." Everything else has a beginning and an ending... shouldn't brushing your teeth and Mommy's writing be the same??? :-)

  6. This post is packed full of honesty and truth! At this point in my writing career, I manage to accomplish most of my daily goals when the kids are at school or otherwise occupied. But it's difficult for some people to understand that I WORK from home and try to keep a regular schedule. I don't have time to run their errands or talk on the phone or do other non-writing things during my writing time.

    And as supportive as my husband is, I don't think he understands that when I begin doing this full time, that means he'll have to step up his game a little more. Bless his heart, he's living under the mistaken assumption I am Wonder Woman.

  7. Or when you're asked, "When are you going to get a real job?" (-;

  8. I am so glad to hear I'm not the only one... at times I feel like I need to hide the fact that I'm writing, like a drug addiction, so no one will comment, criticize or even worse ask "Are you done yet?"

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Yes. Even in the heartache of all that's going on in my life right now though, I've been affirmed writing isn't just something I dabble in. It's part of my mission (some sort of odd combination of job and passion) and I miss it.
    ~ Wendy

  10. I'm not completely in the game yet however I call myself a writer because I am indeed writing a novel, and a brilliant one at that (I'm supposed to say that, lol) I am almost finished with my first draft and I am well aware that writing is the easiest. I have noticed that at this point the only one's who ask me about it are my hubby (because he loves to read it!) and my mom and sister other than that no one understands it and I'm not even into the queries, editing, publishing world of it so I don't ever expect people to understand but I do take pride in my work and I do like knowing that a few people do care, outside of the blogging world and inside!

    Awesome post!

  11. "Best" comment I ever got from a non-writer, "Oh, writing is so easy. I entered a love story to a big contest, I figured I could use the money."

    (She seemed really surprised she did not win and claimed it was a scam. I didn't laugh at her. I didn't strangle her, either.)

  12. I sometimes wish I hadn't told people (even my family) that I'm writing because they don't understand it. I get complaints if I choose to skip outings to stay home and write, and I get complaints if I'm not writing fast enough (for them to read more).

    Great post!

  13. Jody,
    I loved these you wrote: "Realize that I will probably misunderstand others at some point too. I won’t “get” things that are important to them. But hopefully I can use my own frustrations at being misunderstood to spur me to be more sensitive to the interests of others."

    A great reminder to not take others misunderstanding personally and to be aware that our understanding of other people's lives could be way off. Thanks!

  14. I excommunicate the toxic from my universe. If someone doesn't respect your writing, it's more than just about the writing, it indicates a far deeper problem.

    I realize it's different with children, but I know, when I've had the godkids with me, I found ways to get them engaged and excited about the process, the research, etc., so they felt connected to the work while leaving me alone to do it, and we took research trips together that got them excited about the possibilities of writing.

  15. I laughed when I read "sometimes." Try ALL the time, unless he or she is also a writer.

    At least if you're being published, in the non-writing world that legitimizes you to a degree. For me, it seems like only having a story included in someone else's book is cool, but doesn't make me a writer.

  16. Aww, that story about your son breaks my heart.

    I agree. Most people (unless they're a writer) don't get it. I have to tell myself I may not get what's important to them either.

    Life, just like writing, is subjective.

  17. I think because we don't go somewhere for 8 hours a day, some people can't understand that it is "work". I work from home and my kids will still occasionally ask me if I have a "job".... :O)

  18. Definitely. My favorites are the passive-aggressive comments.

    I liked what you said about realizing that we probably misunderstand others' lives and passions too. That's a great reminder. Thanks!

  19. it's definitely difficult when it's your children who misunderstand your purpose, because that pulls at your heart strings, so i definitely try to educate them into knowing that writing is important to me. Then, I reassure them that I will ALWAYS have time for them.

    What I have a hard time with is when I say "no" to taking on another commitment and a person doesn't understand why writing would take a higher priority than saying "yes" to their request.

  20. My writing guilt comes in when my daughter, now 8, says "you're on your computer AGAIN!" I started writing again when she was 2, so she's never known me without a computer. One of the beautiful things of not being contracted is that I can walk away from the computer and not feel the guilty for NOT writing! Think I'll do that right now and see what she's up to!

  21. Thanks for this post. I can so relate. A few days ago, when the babysitter arrived, my 2.5 year old said: "No writing! I don't like it when mama has to work!" And when I finished for the day (or at least that part of the day), he said, with obvious satisfaction: "Mama's all done. No more writing." Owwww. What a squeeze on my heart!

    But at least the kid knows I write. Frankly, I think most of my friends forget that I'm a writer. When I say I can't do something because I have to write, I often detect a fleeting expression of surprise on their faces before they say something like, "Oh, right - how's that going?" It doesn't really bother me, tho. I rarely let friends read my (unpublished) work so I know it's all kind of mystery to them.

    The only thing that chaps my a$$ is that my husband doesn't fully understand what it means to be a writer. Somehow he forgets that if I don't do my job, no one will. Yesterday the babysitter cancelled because of a transportation strike and when I got upset at not being able to work, he was like: "What's the big deal? Take the day off." He doesn't really get that I have a schedule and personal deadlines, even when I don't have any articles immediately due. He'd deny this to the death, of course, but it's true. I try to let it roll off my back. I'm not sure there's anything I can say to make him "get it."

  22. My son told me that he gets nervous when I'm writing because they have to be quiet. Like you said, I'm sure others are annoyed by my writing too, but they don't say it.

  23. This post hit so close to home for me. My wife - who usually is very supportive - is starting to feel the strain of how busy I have become. I'm taking a writing class (starting tonight actually) and so I have alot of work to do in addition to working on my WiPs. She remarked on my absence, particularly my need to sit somewhere by myself so I can write. It's just one of those things you can't explain well enough.

  24. From all the comments above, it's clear you struck a proverbial chord. It's so hard when people don't comprehend a passion, which is also a job. You are so right when you talk about taking a step back and trying to understand others. I don't get what a scientist does, or a physician, so its important that I listen to them, and ask them to explain rather than making assumptions that sound like judgements.

    We all need to listen, and be patient with those who don't understand, because their goal after all, isn't to hurt us. They just don't get it. That said, the thing I hate the most is when my writing is considered "a hobby."

  25. Yes, yes, and yes. It can be very frustrating at times. That's why I love the blogging community so much. It's our chance to chat with other writers who do get it. What would we do without each other? ;)

    Lynnette Labelle

  26. Out of the mouths of babes. I had siimilar comments when my girls were young. They used to see me sit at the dining room table - orange ear plugs stuffed in my ears - a red white and blue freedom sweat shirt on (my writing shirt) and think I'd lost my mind. However when they saw my stories in print- newspapers, mags, they rushed to school with the said story to show "teacher." Your son will eventually get it and when he does he'll be proud but he'll still want it to take a backseat to him.

    We do what we do because that's what we do.

    Thank goodness for other writers who understand and hold our hands when times get tough.

    After years of writing my family now knows writing is what I do. I write on napkins, tissues and anything else I can get my hands on in a pinch. And bounding out of bed in the middle of the night to jot something down is commonplace. His suggestion is to "keep your tools by the bedside." I try but I'm always carrying off my pen or pad.

    Thanks Jody for putting so succinctly what I'd like to have said.


  27. Dearest Jody,
    This post really touched my heart. Children want and need their mommies. That question wasn't about your writing. It was about loving and needing you. He would have had the same question if you were working at something other than writing. I think people are really wanting connections with us, deeper and more frequent perhaps than we have the time to give them. So I don't think we need to take the time to try to explain how we feel about writing. All people need to know is that we love it - it's our passion. But we need to find ways to connect with those we love, in addition to the time we devote to our writing. It's hard.

  28. Yes, yes, yes! Friends and family don't completely understand, and I often feel the pressure to produce more tangible results, either in the form of money or my name in lights:) They aren't unkind, by any means, they just don't get it.

    This is why I am so thankful for this community of writers who do understand, encourage, and cheer me on. Thanks so much, Jody, for articulating what I've been thinking and experiencing! You are a blessing.

    Hugs and blessings to you and your readers,

  29. Karen Walker: I think you hit on something important, especially with our children. Often their longings and needs are disguised as misunderstanding. Just another reason why we need to make sure we're making time for them in our lives--even scheduling time as I mentioned in the last post about writer's guilt.

  30. My daughter struggles with my writing time as well. The more doors that are opened to me helps her accept my writing a little more each time but she is resisitive. I sure hope she warms up to the idea soon. I do let her give me idea's and include her in the experience. That helps tons. Have a great day Jody!

  31. My husband gets my writing about 98% of the time, which is a HUGE blessing. I began writing when our daughter waa a Sophomore in high school, and she sometimes resented the time I spent writing. I'd been a stay-at-home mom her whole life, so sharing me with my characters was a new experience. She's in college now and is excited that I have an agent and am getting closer to having a book published.

    One thing I've realized is that if legitimize my writing in my own mind, I take less offense to those who don't understand what I'm going through. This is my job, albeit one that isn't paying at this point, so I don't have to justify it more than I would any other.

    I do my best to remember that those outside the profession don't know much about it. How can they? I've been writing four years, and I'm just now getting a grasp on all that's involved. :) I try to be as patient with others who don't get it as I'd like them to be with me when I ask about their professions, hobbies and interests of which I know next to nothing.

    I took a risk when I first began writing, knowing I'd need LOTS of support and encouragement, and was open about my writing with my family and friends. My patience has been rewarded. My extended family, church family and friends have been incredibly supportive. Over the years, I've answered their questions and gently educated them. I rarely get those "So, where can I buy your book?" questions these days. Instead, they ask how my writing is going and offer their support and encouragement. Because I value what I do, they do as well.

    Sorry about the novella, Jody, but you have a wonderful way of touching on subjects dear to our hearts.

  32. I could be making a lot more as a nurse or MT editor. And I think hubby thought the house would be spotless when I quit. Lucky for me, he's very supportive.

    But I don't think my family really gets what it's like to either be writing or be thinking about it. Lucky for me, I can include Gracee, and she gives me great advice. ;) I think I'll send this link to my family, though. :D

  33. Jody, my kids often ask about my book, too. They know I work on writing and wonder when I'll be done. Very touching.

    As for adults, my favorite phrase is, when I mention things (nonfiction) that I do write about, some people always say, "I know what you mean. I could write a book." (I always keep my mouth shut when someone says that.)

  34. Oh my goodness I love this post. This is so true - in a lot of ways many people I know in real life are just like your six year old. They simply do NOT understand, nor can they ever understand, really. I've had friends get angry with me, accuse me of following stupid dreams and shirking everything else that's important (or should be important, according to them). It hurts and stings, and it almost makes me want to quite at times.

    But I won't.

    I really appreciate all you give to the blogging and writing community. You are an inspiration, and it is writers like you that keep me going. Thank you.

  35. I was in that position last summer. Jody, so I sympathize with how that felt. At a certain point after weeks of heavy writing, I thought: "If I were my daughter, how would I perceive this time?" I realized that I would think: "Mom stares at a computer all the time." That is heartwrenching! I decided at that point to change things around to make it better. But you're right, it's a constant balancing act.

  36. Thanks for posting, Jody. Sooo feeling this with friends. The deeper into my writing I get, the closer to publishing/selling I get, the more isolated and misunderstood I feel.

    I just keep my writing buddies close.

  37. I've blogged about this at Seekerville, about the funny perceptions people have when they find out you're a writer. And for the most part, I have been able to laugh about it.

    I'm trying to remember to extend grace the way I hope to have it extended to me. And sometimes I even manage it. :)

  38. Oh, yeah - been there, done that. My mom thinks I'm stuck in some sort of childhood fairy tale and I'll snap out of it. My father humors me, but the skepticism is thick. My kids don't understand why it's taking so long...

    I love your tips for dealing with it. :-)

  39. Jody, your words hit home. As a husband and father, already working a full-time job yet passionate to write, I question myself daily, especially when my family sees me again at the computer. And I think, "Maybe I should just give up this writing thing, just for a few years." But when I write and see the words come together, the questions and doubts go away. Almost like God whispers, "You can do this. I want you to do this."

    The way I deal with it is the tough discipline of writing time, which usually doesn't come until my wife and kids are in bed, that way they don't see me at the computer all the time. But then I'm exhausted at my day job.

    Somehow though, the exhaustion and the hard road seem worth it (and I'm nowhere close to publishing a book). I can't explain it, but I'm sure other writers out there understand it.

  40. Oh, yes. I mean; OH YES! I get my feelings hurt, I complain to my DH and the Lord, I eat chocolate to console myself, I laugh.

    Finally one day the Lord said to me, "They don't have to understand, Jeanette. I understand."

    That helped.

  41. I've been doing that a lot lately, keeping my frustration under wraps. It's hard sometimes.

  42. Good topic today, Jody!

    I am definitely one that has to remind myself that people just don't understand and that many of them won't unless they are in this crazy world themselves.

    Thanks for the reminder. I'll try to be more patient.

    And every time I visit your blog, I get more and more excited to read your book this fall!

  43. Your posts always touch a nerve, Jody! My family is supportive although I think my DH believes I'm addicted to my laptop! The only frustration I face is from some of the people who provided resource material for one of my books or were beta readers. They keep asking if it's nearing publication and when I explain I'm still working on revisions or rewriting and don't have an agent yet they give me that look... the one that says they doubt I'm ever going to publish something so why am I still working at it.

    I console myself with the fact that I don't necessarily understand other people's passions either. I don't get why people are consumed by golf games day after day, or why anyone would want to scale a rock face.

    The truth is that I don't have to be understood to pursue what I love doing. I'm going to do it anyway.

  44. I've virtually taken my writing "back into the closet" for this very reason. It may not be the brave or correct response, but the constant questions like "when's your book coming out" and "you're going to make so much money and be famous someday" were/are well meaning and supportive, but ultimately just got to be too much pressure for me. Even my boss asked when he could read my book - and I write steamy romance, so the answer in my head was "not until I can quit". ;-) Of course I just told him he had to wait until it was published...and that could be a good long ways away yet.

    As a yet-to-query writer, I don't need that pressure right now, while I'm trying to revise and get ready to submit for the first time. My husband is incredibly (and quietly) supportive - he "gets it", so between that and my 'net friends, I've got the support I need.

    I'll talk about my writing with my family after I'm under contract, and the book is six months away from being published. Until then, all they need to know is that I'm happy, gainfully employed, and if I can't do something with them one day, it's because I have other plans.

  45. Excellent points. My husband doesn't get it but he supports me fully. When I tell him I need time to write on the weekends, he looks at me like I have two heads. It's difficult but totally worth it in th end. :)

  46. The only thing I have to add to these wonderful comments to such an insightful post is this: Think of how freeing it is to realize that we don't have to educate everyone we meet about our writing lives. Oh, that we could let go like that more!

  47. Wow, Jody, popular topic today. And with good reason.

    I think your own kids versus the adults in your life are two separate issues. With regard to kids, I think it was Karen Walker above who pointed out that no matter what mom does, a child will probably want more time with mom. I think that's probably true. To provide a different perspective, I'll share an anecdote from when my now 8-year-old son was 5 and had been working on my WIP for only a couple of months: I'd been scribbling characters and plot points in a notebook every spare minute, and he came upon me one afternoon when I had to write something down before it left my head for good. He sat beside me, watched me for a minute and said, "Mommy, you love to write and write and write." I told him that I did.

    I later realized that one thing I was showing (not telling) him was that if you can find your dream, you should pursue it and work at it as hard as you can until you achieve your goals. No one knows how successful he or she will be as a parent until the job is done, but I felt that that day, in at least this one area, I was providing my son with a good example.

    As for adults: I am blessed with an unbelievably supportive husband. Some other adults get it; most do not. One of my "favorite" lines came from another mom in a daycare parking lot a couple of years ago: "So, Tracy, are you working now or are you just doing a little writing?"

    Grrr. I'll leave it at that.

  48. Ah heck, I just don’t tell them! No, seriously I don’t tell many people, but the few I have told have been awesome and very supportive. I’m very lucky (and I know it.)

    If it is any consolation (and I know it is not), no matter what you choose to do your little one would not approve. They want mommy and daddy 24/7.

  49. I keep thinking, if I ever get paid to write, then "they" will understand and be more supportive. But, I think I depend on that as a way to relieve the guilt I feel from spending so much time writing.

    Like Devon Ellington said, I need to "excommunicate the toxic from my universe."

    Be gone, guilt!

  50. Absolutely. And it is sad when my kid says I can bring my computer up to the bathroom with me so I can sit with her while she takes a bath. So I'm really trying not to be on the computer so much when she's awake.

    I like how you said you will probably misunderstand others at some point. That is so true. And it's not because we're bad people or have bad intentions. It's just human nature.

    And so I keep plugging away, realizing that I need to project positivity into the public places.

  51. Oh have I felt this guilt. In fact, as I type right now I'm waiting to leave to go to the pediatrician w/ a kid who probably has conjunctivitis. Luckily she sort of gets the book thing. sort of.

    I am fortunate in that I have had a number of freelance projects. It's not quite the same as having my novel (aka my baby) published. But it's almost as good - my name on the cover and all. But people will ask me how it's selling, or how great are the royalties. And I have to explain that, uh, no, there are no royalties...and I don't know how well it's selling...
    Thanks for this post, Jody. And congrats on the book deal!

  52. My husband is a theoretical physicist. He models black holes and space-time.

    And he won't talk about his work to people. He very politely evades or deflects their questions.

    Part of it is because he's met too many physicists who won't shut up about their work, but a larger part is he can't have a meaningful discussion about it with anyone who isn't in the same field. With most people, he's stuck answering very child-like questions.

    Which sounds exactly like what you're describing. Most people don't understand, and thus you end up clearing up misconceptions rather than having a meaningful discussion.

    So having

  53. Whoops. Pardon the dangling thought, there at the end.

  54. Jody, I am not even close to being published, but I can totally relate to everything you said.

    Another thing: How about the self-imposed guilt?

    Oops, one more: Do other people really see our writing as selfish and indulgent, or am I projecting?

    Congratulations on your success!

  55. Hi Heather!
    Oh, there's definitely guilt too, isn't there? You'll have to take a look at my last post "Dealing With Writer's Guilt." I think misunderstanding and guilt walk hand in hand.

    And that's a great question. Maybe sometimes we are projecting. Maybe if we talked about our writing with more confidence, we'd experience less misunderstanding.

  56. Zillions of times. Especially the "Where can I buy your book," statement. LOL Oh well, I write because I love it--and the rest I try to let go of.

  57. I'm laughing right now, because I snuck away to the library to read blogs! Boy, I was feeling cooped up. Does the guilt ever end? I don't think so!

    It's hard for little ones to understand, but as they grow older, they get it.

    Your children will brag about you someday!

  58. Hi Jody -

    I've run into people, who think writing a book is a piece of cake. They can't understand why I'm not published yet, and seem to lose interest when they learn I'm not.

    Let's face it, a non-writer isn't going to get excited over storylines, word choice, and writers conferences.

    My support comes mainly from my writer friends.

    Susan :)

  59. Writing is sooo awesome. YOU are a wonderful writer. And children always want our attention even when they are grown - in some way and then there are the grands.

    My point is that writers cannot stop -writing. Eventually even the children understand. :)

  60. Hi Jody & thanks for your response. :) I read all of your "guilt-related" posts & found them useful.

    I think you may be right about confidence and misunderstandings. I've always been overly-apologetic about everything, writing included, and I can see now how that might cast the impression that I'm not serious about learning the craft.

    Be well!

  61. A long time ago I saw a poster promoting a book. I can't even remember what the book was about but the poster remains with me. It was of a man in the snow pointing a gun at his old fashioned type-writer which he'd obviously thrown to the ground. This image spoke to me to loudly. Yes! I thought to myself. Yes! That's what it's sometimes like to write! It's frustrating, it's hard work and sometimes I just want to shoot my computer. And yet so many of my friends think I've chosen the "easy" lifestyle. Ha!

  62. You are wise. And so far ahead in the game if you realize that (as you state), you will probably misunderstand others at some point too.

    Great post. And I think that no matter what the profession, there will always be a lack of understanding involved with someone who isn't in it up to their armpits like the rest of us.

  63. Jody, thank you so much for this wise and insightful post. I feel comforted every time I come to your blog and read your reassuring, reasonable words. I am NOWHERE near to getting published and already I've been getting some of what you described. It's either "Oh wow, you're going to be the next J.K. Rowling!" (yeah right, wishful thinking) or "What? You write? Shouldn't you be focusing on your day job?" I've been talking less and less about it as a result. I have learned to restrict any conversation about writing to people who get it, like my blogging friends.

    I have an award for you at my blog!! :)

  64. I am just starting out as a writer and am nowhere near getting published. That's probably why I don't bother telling most people I'm a writer. In fact, I have a hard time even calling myself a writer. Am I really a writer if I don't have any published works? I think most of my friends consider my writing a hobby. And maybe that's what it is right now. I just have to keep following my dream and hope that my "hobby" will soon turn into something more.

  65. I found your profile on another blog that I follow and added myself to follow you.

    If you would like to visit my blog you are more than welcome to.

    God bless you, Ron

  66. Fabulous post! It's so true that people don't get it at all. I do sometimes try to explain, but your idea of not doing that probably makes a whole lot more sense. Then I'll have a lot less glazed eyes staring back at me. ;-)

  67. Isn't it great to know how much your child(ren) loves you? Even though he expressed his sadness at the time your need to work, it has to touch you so deeply to know how important and loved you are. :)

    I find a large lack of understanding and attempts to "put yourself in someone else's shoes" when it comes to most everything in life. When you love something with a passion, and desperately want to share your love for that passion, it's not always easy to have someone stare at you blankly. In the end, I go back to why I do the things I do... the love & passion for it. They may not get it, but I don't get some of the things they do either.

    Great post Jody!

  68. This post has me in tears at 6:30 AM--- because I have a little girl who says the exact words of your little boy.

    I'm contracted with Zondervan for my first book... and yes, for me, staggering unmerited grace ... but for my sweet little girl?

    I pray everyday for grace to make the poiemas of these masterful children know that they are far more important to me than any blinking, waiting cursor....

    Thank you... for just speaking your story...

    All's grace,

  69. Helping our children understand "why" is always a challenge, isn't it? I have recently had some wonderful times with my 15 year old daughter, dealing with many things of life including my battle with breast cancer. At one point of deep emotion, I told her, "God always knew you were going to be the daughter of a mother with breast cancer, and He will give you everything you need to walk that path."

    Knowing we are part of a bigger plan can help our children as well as us be encouraged! You children were given a mom who is a writer. They are blessed with that, and can be told the same!

  70. I get, are you published yet? It's hard to explain that for most, it's many years of hard work before some get the coveted publishing contract. Then it's many months of hard work after that.

    Virtually everyone says they want to write. Luckily (for us) they don't all do it!

  71. I hate that raised eyebrow or furrowed brow. The one that follows my answer to the question; "what do you do with your time?".
    My response that I am a writer triggers that slow, eyebrow lift. It translates into..."Oh,you neglect your home and sit all day".
    Then you get the comments that you have mentioned, Jody.

    I am learning the way forward now. I smile, change the conversation to them. I have better things to do with my time than explain away my need to write. While they ramble on, I make mental notes about their character just in case I can use them in future projects. LOL
    It must be difficult for a child to understand though.I do not have that problem. DH is happy that he is left to his hobbies, and my children are in two different countries.

  72. "Even worse is when a friend knows how excited we are about writing, but doesn’t ask us about it—as if it’s a taboo topic."

    Seriously! I have friends who do this exact thing and I don't understand it at all. It's a relief to see I'm not the only one going through it.

  73. Ah, but your post hit home. The Kiddo once told me that she wanted to write and sell some books so that, "You won't have to work so hard, Mommy, and you can play with me."

    Stab of guilt deep into my heart!

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  75. The few relatives who know about my writing don't get it, and that's fine, but what does bother me sometimes is because the majority of blogging writers are parents, and no offense intended to Jody or any parents/writers I know, but a big misconception I feel people can make is that non-parents who don't have spouses have it so much easier. Well, some of us don't.

    I don't want to go into it here, but I urge all the over 30 adults to remember that it's taking LONGER for many of us to achieve a lot of the milestones you did, and in some respects it's HARDER, and those who say otherwise are either blind to that, or are lucky to have family and financial support many of us don't have, whatever the reason, and not necessarily through any fault of their own.

    I used to be afraid to mention my age to others because on average they'd be adults over 30, married with kids, or at least have kids if not married anymore, but sometimes I feel (GENERALLY) parents in particular have an unfair view of us under 30 adults who didn't follow the-

    "From High school/College/Worked 3 dead end jobs/married with kids/not married with kids/etc" path.

    Parents have it tough, but so do non-parents, like me, sometimes it's a trying experience just to care for YOURSELF. Period.


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