Family Indifference to Writing
By: M. J. Welcome
Indifference, dismissiveness, or belittling are some of the words writer’s use when they speak of their family’s interest in their craft. I’m not sure why some family members fail to encourage, exalt, or uplift a writer who is pursuing their dream. But it happens too often.
Although I receive support and encouragement from my immediate family, it is not true of my extended family. If I had to describe their interest it ranges from polite tolerance to indifference to disinterest or belittling.
When chatting with family members on the phone inevitably the question is asked, “What are you up to?” Hope leaps into my heart for a brief moment. I start to share my latest project then the deafening sound of silence hits my ears. After about 30 seconds, I get one of five possible excuses. “I’ve got to cook. I’m tired. I was in the middle of something. It’s getting late. Or oh that is nice, have you heard—”
Polite tolerance is when a family member listens to you, but refuse to fuel the discussion with life by asking questions. Their indifference is hurtful because it’s obvious they’re not interested and are just asking the question to be polite. These family members will spend all day talking about themselves or others, but aren’t interested in discussing you or your writing.
There are times when family members dismiss your writing as not being a legitimate profession. They make snide comments like, “When are you going to get a real job? Or who will pay you to do that? Have you gotten paid yet?” Their comments can cause wounding because writing is an intimate thing. Often a writer’s craft emerges out of personal experience and is intertwined with the identity of the writer. When the writing is discounted or dismissed, it’s as if the writer is being disguarded. It is rude, insensitive, an often painful.
There are still other family members who belittle a writer’s efforts by making statements like, “I should write a book. I should become a writer. It can’t be too hard to write a book.” Comments like these are cloaked attacks, which pierce a writer’s heart.
Elated from completing a written work, the writer shares his or her achievement with family, expecting to get accolades, praises, or encouragement in the endeavor, yet what’s received is that anyone can do what you did. It isn’t a big deal. Look, I could write what you did and I would be better at it. In each case, the selfishness of the family member is exposed.
The truth is, not everyone in your life will be supportive of your dream to write. In fact, most will not. If you have one or two individuals who support and encourage you then you’re blessed. Many may try to discourage you because secretly they are jealous or envious of you because you have the courage to create something new with each story or article and you exist outside the box that’s why they feel intimidated.
Whatever you do, don’t let negative people rob you of the positive joy of writing. It is who you are and part of your nature to create.
M. J. Welcome is a Christian public speaker, copywriter, proofreader, and author. Her books include Overcome Secret Sins in 15 Days, Battling for the Light, The Adventures of Charmaine the Cockroach, Bella’s Dream, Debate Handbook: The Smart Way to Exercise the Mind! (Volume 1), Excuse Me! Let Me Speak…A Young Person’s Guide to Public Speaking, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Teachers Manual, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Student Guide The Easy Way to Write and Deliver a Great Speech!, and The Smart Guide to Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a publisher and editor at Smart House Publishing located in Far Rockaway, New York. She lives with her husband Dwain and their two sons.
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