Writing can be a dicey endeavor when it comes to seeking support from friends and family. I was watching clips of Stephen King interviews and it made me think of his book, On Writing, wherein he talks about his childhood and how he began to develop his craft.
From the sounds of it, Stephen King didn’t have the best of childhoods, but one thing that did make me envious was the support he received from friends and family. His mother encouraged him and his brother helped him launch his first self-published newspaper, The Village Vomit (ha, ha, love that name.) After getting in some trouble for its scandalous content, his guidance counselor arranged to have him work with a local editor to write about sports, and, he got paid. Several years later his wife supported and encouraged him as well.
Maybe he sugarcoats it a bit, perhaps it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, but it did make me think of how important it is for writers to find the right support for their work.
On the other extreme, there are many cases of famous writers who didn’t always get the support they needed during their lifetime. Probably the most notable case is Emily Dickinson, whose shyness and unconventional style kept her from becoming a famous poet until after her death.
Female writers such as the Bronte sisters, George Sand and George Eliot all took on male pseudonyms in order to break into what was, at the time, a male dominated profession. You might think those times have passed but reportedly the reason J. K. Rowling decided to use initials (as well as an earlier male pseudonym) is because a publisher told her boys might not buy her books because she was a woman.
Men have also taken on female pseudonyms so that they can write in a genre that is dominated by females. Both Carola Salisbury and Madeleine Brent were pseudonyms for men who wished to publish romance novels.
Support is important in anything you do, but especially when it comes to writing as there can be a lot of insecurity. Putting yourself OUT THERE can be scary.
If you’re not one of those fortunate people who already has the support of friends and family members for whatever reason, then you have to create your own support system. This can be done by joining writing groups, taking writing classes, starting a blog, becoming involved in related community events, etc. You could even take on a pseudonym or create a whole ‘nother persona. It certainly can and has been done before. Even Stephen King once did this by publishing under the name Richard Bachman.
Or, you can go to a lot of extremes like Shaun Brumder in the movie Orange County. Love that movie, but probably not wise things to do IRL.
Do you have support for your writing? Or are you more like Shaun?