Dealing with Negativity
(From the people whose opinions you actually care about)
I can’t tell you how many book dedications I’ve read where writers thank their family for putting up with them while they were in the throes of writing their book, their kids eating peanut butter sandwiches so mommy can keep writing and so on and so forth.
I think that’s wonderful. I also wonder (with a certain feeling of shame for doubting their veracity) whether their families really were as supportive as all that.
Because mine is not.
My kids don’t care whether or not I’m trying to squeeze out time to write a book. They want dinner, and help with homework, they want clean plates to eat off and clean clothes to wear. Books be damned, they want mommy dates and snuggle time. My boy wants a chance to work through how some kids at school called him stupid because he has autism and is hyper-focused on Elvis, the king of rock and roll this month, and Elvis is Not Cool. My girl wants a chance to talk over how some little girl was her friend last week and this week hates her and is hanging out with some other little girl.
This is life-shattering stuff for them folks.
Then there’s my husband who thinks its all a waste of time, that I’ll never finish any of it, (except I did) and even if I do, I’ll never make any money off of it (probably true) so why not focus on something that actually brings in a living wage. Of course, I already make a living wage a different way, so then writing in his mind is a hobby. And hobbies shouldn’t take away from snuggle time and eating chips in bed while watching Supernatural with him, from doing “my Fair Share” of paperwork and dealing with crap all adults have to do but never want to like incorrect bills and disputes about who is responsible for replacing the air conditioning system. Hobbies are for doing in free time.
And you know what? They have a point.
Writing is a huge time suck. And my kids deserve all those things they need. My husband shouldn’t have to deal with all the crap of life because I want to—let me rephrase that—I need to write.
I get it.
But I don’t get “free time.” I’m not even sure I believe in this mythical thing people call Free Time.
Any time I have is stolen--I get it by not doing something else I should be doing.
So how do you avoid this kind of negativity from the people whose opinions you actually care about: your close friends and family? And if you can’t avoid it, how do you deal with it?
The question isn’t rhetorical folks.
I have no idea what the answer is. I would have liked to quote that biblical verse about how a prophet isn’t respected in their hometown. But lets face it—I’m no prophet. Probably you aren’t either. And to be fair, these people in our lives have a valid point. So what do we do?
For now, my answer is to try to prioritize. I try to meet my family’s needs as best I can (and buy paper plates so I spend less time doing dishes.)
I cut writing time out of sleep time and reading time. I deny myself so that I don’t have to deny them.
It means everything comes so much slower writing wise.
It means I’m tired a lot.
It means sometimes writing feels like a chore, not a joy.
But the words still come.
What do you guys do? Is there a better way?