Is There Something You’d Like To Say, Karen? (Tips for Writers-On Surviving the holiday with family)

The holiday season is quickly approaching. For most, that brings mixed emotions. While there’s often sadness over loved ones who are no longer with us, whether by choice or death, there can also be old grudges or ongoing family feuds. Spending time with family and loved ones can be difficult and wonderful and awkward. If your family is aware of your art/creative outlet/writing, you’re vulnerable for every nuance.

I’ve been blessed to have many supportive relatives. Some ask me how my pursuit to traditional publication is going, how my current project is going or what it is about, or they tell me to not give up and they’re impressed with my perseverance. For me, I find it comforting when people ask me questions about how things are going. It makes me feel as if they care and are truly supportive of my goals and dreams. Lately, I’ve been finding that since it’s been a few years since I’ve been back into writing seriously, some family members are over it, or bored. But what those people don’t understand, (because they haven’t asked) is a journey to traditional publishing is often long.

If I find myself frustrated by *family over the holiday, I tend to go quiet. Sometimes it’s necessary to isolate myself as well. Taking time by myself can help me regroup. People who don’t understand the industry or the process, don’t really understand either, 1.) why publication takes so long, and 2.) why do I keep going. Yes, traditional publication is the goal, but writing is therapeutic and a passion that has always been inside of me. So regardless if I ever get traditionally published or not, it’s important for me to reiterate to family that I’m not planning to give up on writing.

What can you do if you find yourself in the “hot” seat?

-If your relative is giving you a hard time about “still doing that whole writing thing”; force them to sit there and listen to an hour of you educating them on the process of traditional publishing.

-Be prepared to give an explanation of “why don’t you just self publish?”; while I both respect and support authors who self publish, it’s not for everyone. So be prepared to have an explanation for why this isn’t for you. And if you don’t have one, maybe self-publishing is right for you (?).

-If they ask you, “why don’t you just quit?”; for me, quitting isn’t an option. Writing is a form of “self care”. Quitting would’t be good for my disorders like anxiety and depression. It’s important they know that you have set a goal and you intend to work hard at accomplishing that goal to prove it to yourself. Also, for me, I want to show my kids that with hard work and perseverance, dreams can come true. Find your reasons and list them.

-You can also go with the, “give it to them straight” approach; if you’re outspoken, tell your family members exactly what you want to and need to. Be firm and concise. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells. They’re your family. If they don’t love you and can’t be supportive, that’s on them.

-You can also go with the, “isolation” approach; for some people it’s easier to keep your mouth shut and make nice and isolate yourself during a holiday gathering. While it’s disappointing if this is the case, this could be the healthiest approach for you. You need to protect yourself and your art. Take care of your mental health.

Good luck to all of my fellow creators. May you have a wonderful time celebrating with your loved ones and treasuring all you’ve been blessed with and are grateful for.

*To my family who thinks this post was inspired by you; it wasn’t. This is not about you 😉

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