All in the Family

Some writers hide the fact that they're writers. They don't want to hear the derision, or the questions, or whatever. Some days I can really relate to this. But I don't keep secrets well (make note of that. I'm dead serious. It kills me.) So my whole family knows I write. And they are pretty damn supportive of it.

My grandmother was my biggest supporter. She read everything I wrote, swore she didn't know why I wasn't published. When I sent blanket submissions and got interest from a subsidy publisher (before I knew about RWA), she offered to give me the money. She also kept me writing. If I didn't have chapters for her, she'd get antsy. She used to go to booksignings with me, too.

My husband and son are very low-key, but I always get a dinner out for a final or a request or a finished ms. And my dh often tells me he's proud of me. My ds is a teenager, so I may get a "Cool," if I'm lucky.

My mom doesn't read (I KNOW!) but she's always so happy when I final in a contest. I don't know if she'll read me when I publish. Part of me is screaming, "NO!"

My dad always asks me about my writing and cheers my contest finals and requests. I tell him I get my persistence from him.

My baby brother Michael is following in my footsteps. He doesn't have time to write much lately as he pursues that 4.0, but he loves to talk writing. And he went to a chapter meeting with me.

My other brother and his wife gave me a party when I finalled in the GH in 2003, and when I won the Sheila, he called me (during INSERVICE!) and she came over and hugged me during a different inservice (she's an administrator - so cool!)

My best friend Cindi read my very first book, gave me one of those writing awards that you give kids. (I still have it.) She brags on me, and whenever I'm telling someone that it's taking me so long, she jumps to my defense. She's awesome.

So I'm very very lucky.

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14 comments:

Peggy said...

What a wonderful supportive family you have Mary! And your grandma, too perfect!

The only people I tell I write is my immediate family...and I threaten any of them who tries to spread the rumour! It's hard enough with my own insecurities to have others look at me as if saying "come back down to earth girl". This is why I so love the on-line romance community. We all believe in each other.

MaryF said...

You know, Peggy, there are lots of times when I wish I could just keep my mouth shut about being a writer. Then the clerk at the grocery store wouldn't ask me, people I've taught with for years...but it's also good for me that they're interested.

Last night, my dad kind of chided me for not making more of a big deal about winning the Sheila (clearly he didn't come over here ;)) I couldn't explain why I didn't. Just tired of getting my hopes up, I guess.

Sharon said...

Your grandma sounds terrific! You're very lucky to have such a supportive network :)

Amie Stuart said...

Most of my family doesn't know. Or if they do, I didn't tell them and I don't see them often enough to get quizzed. Frankly it gets old cuz most of them don't get it (You know the IT I'm talking about--that IT), as in really REALLY don't get it (IE rejections aren't that big a deal cuz they're part of the business, don't get it), so I just don't say anything.

Anonymous said...

You do have so much support, Mar...and that's important. My dh and kids know, my parents and some close friends. One friend in particular has helped me so much---it was their support that made me believe I could do this in the first place. I get a lot out of the online support, too, but especially from SARA, our RWA chapter. It's nice to talk to people who understand without us having to explain, explain, explain! :)

As I told you this week, I had to go to my vice principal and let him know that my novel that will come out in December is meant for adults, and that it has adult content...hence, I will not be marketing it to my classes, nor telling them what my pen name is! I felt that I had to let him know, since there is a morals clause in my contract. He smiled and said, "Doesn't sound immoral to me!" Way to go, Joe. My work community is behind me, and that helps, too.

We got it going pretty good, cher. :)

JoAnn

Michelle said...

I'm getting better about telling people, but it's mostly my family and writing friends who know. :)

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks great, Mary! Sounds like you have lots of support!

Toni Anderson said...

Family can be wonderful!! A pity they don't understand the process a bit better though. I sent off my ms last week and they were all asking if I'd heard anything yet!!! I finally gave into demands from my m-i-l to read my ms and I emailed it to her. God help me when she gets to the love scenes. Shoot me now!!!

Michele said...

Try having your father read your stuff. I can't be in the same building when he's doing that. And no, I don't ask his opinion either. He's a writer too and because we love each other so much, we don't critique each other's work.

I haven't really told anybody I work with about my writing. I'm just trying to keep my work and writing life seperate is all. I'll talk about it if asked but other than that, no.

Trish Milburn said...

My family knows that I write books and am trying to get published, but they don't really understand the whole process, I don't think. The hubby's family understands more and asks me about it more. They were so excited for me when I won the GH last year. But no one in the family has read my stuff except the hubby. I wish I'd let my MIL read something, but I never dreamed that we'd lose her before I got published. I'm going to dedicate a book to her someday.

Olga said...

Wow, what a great supportive family you have, Mary! I'm amazed and so glad for you. Support from the people you love is so important.

MaryF said...

Interesting how many of you keep it close to your vest. I think that's probably wise because it can get painful when they ask again and again when you're going to sell, why you haven't sold yet. But yeah,

Toni, about the process. I think they think the contest finals are like signing contracts - uh, no. I do wonder who will READ my stuff when I'm published. I bet my brother would. My mom, no. Can't wait to hear what your MIL thinks of your book! My MIL read a chapter and thought it was the whole book. I showed her how long a whole book was and she wished me luck, but had no desire to read.

Michele, I can't imagine my dad reading my stuff! Good thing he lives in MN - I would be too embarrassed to come face to face with him after he read one!

You know, I forgot to mention my aunt and uncle. My uncle was my very first reader when I wrote my first book when I was 9. He read Hot Shot last summer and said he hoped he never owned a house near a forest fire - WAY too much romance and not enough firefighting (interesting, kinda the opposite of what Susan Litman said!)

Trish, my dh is great to bounce ideas off of, but he doesn't read it. He says he will when it's published, but he's worried he'll tell me something that will result in the book getting rejected. (Oh, yeah, right.) We'll see what happens when I have a book in my hands.

Marianne Arkins said...

UGH... try marrying into an ULTRA-Conservative family and having to hide your light under a pen name (via orders from hubby) and worrying about how far to take love scenes (wouldn't want to lead little girls astray) and then wondering how the heck you're going to handle book signings in town when no one is supposed to know you're a writer. I'm debating whether or not to hang up the certificate I just got from the GB contest since my sis-in-law visits here frequently. I feel, sometimes, like I'm running a brothel or dealing drugs. Stinks. You're so lucky to have the support you have!!

MaryF said...

Oh, Allaina!!! I can't imagine! Now, my mom is SUPER conservative, but I'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

CONGRATULATIONS on the GB certificate!!!

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