It’s funny how random people on the internet will read your stuff, but not your family or friends.
Growing up in western culture my environment always encouraged me to be anyone I wish to become. They agreed that I’m capable of reaching the stars if I strived for the outer space. I could become the best soccer player in the world If I played enough ball. But if I wanted to write, I’d get dismissive or patronizing looks, sometimes both, from the same person.
Ugh, writer? Why can’t I just be an astronaut or something?
Even other aspiring writers were easy to dismiss me as a writer.
The other day, I spoke to my close friend and casually mentioned I’ve been writing for some time now. He also likes to write, and I thought this could be a great way to connect even further. I let my guard down before I was smacked by his replay;
“That’s great and all…buut…don’t you think you should do something else? You’re not even a native speaker and you never exactly wrote.”
Can you imagine? He said that. He made the call before reading any of my articles, or even inquiring about my published book.
He made a snap judgment about my writing before giving it a decent chance. The same thing happened with almost everyone I found any strength to tell about my newly found passion.
When I started writing(a year ago) I would only share my articles with certain people because I was ashamed of the judgment from my friends and family.
After a while I shared one of the articles with a few friends, hoping they’ll enjoy the piece.
It was a six-minute long entry on the benefits of ice-cold showers. Most of my friends said they’ll read and get back to me.
Some never did, others gave their feedback weeks later(they had no time to read the six-minute piece earlier), only my roommate read the thing on the same day(he didn’t have many options). I was glad for any kind of feedback and the lack of support wasn’t heartbreaking as it was expected.
I didn’t want to push my work down anyone’s throat, and I decided to step back when it comes to talking about writing.
I tried to put myself in the position of others. If my girlfriend worked as a part-time server in a new restaurant, I wouldn’t want to hang at the place for her every shift. It wouldn’t be pleasant for any of us. I guess it’s the same with writing, it’s work and you shouldn’t terrorize your closest with your daily scribbles(unless they insist).
With everything said, I’d still appreciate some support or even vague interest in my work.
The only two people that truly support my writing hobby are my mother(she doesn’t understand any English) and one friend(but even she won’t read most of my Medium posts).
Writing is a great hobby. I just hope you’re not trying to make it your main thing.
People will often try to patronize their way into dismissing your whole interest.
“Don’t be silly, there is no money in writing.”
I believe(wild guess) that most people think there lays a story worth writing within them. And somehow, when you say you’re writing your story, it makes them feel uncomfortable.
If I said I wanted to be a nurse, people would applaud.
If I wanted to run for office, I’d get the support of my friends.
If I wanted to be a bartender, others would tell me how I can do it.
When I said I wanted to write, I got patronizing comments; “You’re great and all, but there are million other things to do in this world.”
The funny thing is; none of these social judges read any of my work.
I’d be fine(it would still suck) if someone actually read my book and said like, “hey this is not so good, maybe you can work on your characters a bit more.” At least I would know it comes from an honest place of someone who actually appraised my work for its face value.
What I can say (and what many great writers already said) is to stay away from the critics. Don’t listen to your friends when they tell you that you can’t succeed at something you want.