How Well-Intentioned Loved Ones Can Sabotage Your Writing Career

Launching a writing career is hard–especially with family sabotage. by Anne R. Allen

Learning to write well is tough. Getting published is tougher. And selling your published books is tougher still.

Nevertheless, we persist. Most writers feel compelled to write, and usually nothing can stop us.

But we can be waylaid, distracted, and seriously discouraged. Some of us can’t write for years because of devastating “ creativity wounds ” and body-blows to our self-esteem. Misguided and untrained beta readers and critique groups can also kill a writer’s creativity.

Others quit writing after horrific experiences with scam publishing companies and bogus agents. I have written often about the publishing scammers who lie in wait for newbie writers. Do check out my posts on scams , and always check Writer Beware. Scammers can break your heart as well as emptying your bank account.

I’ve also heard from several authors who put their writing on hiatus after sadistic troll attacks derailed a fledgling writing career. (We had some great advice on how to fight online attacks from Chris Syme last week . Attacks like this were the inspiration for my nove l So Much for Buckingham , which is on sale this week . )

But sometimes the writer’s most dangerous enemies are closer to home.

Here’s the problem: having a writer in the family can be threatening to loved ones on many levels. Suddenly that WIP gets the attention the family used to enjoy. Children resent not having access to a parent. Old friends feel miffed when you say you’d rather finish up that chapter than go for a beer or catch a movie.

Loved ones may not consciously acknowledge their resentment, but it may slip out in negative comments and actions.

Or they may be 100% genuine in their enthusiasm for your work, but their misconceptions about what it takes to write and how the industry works can push you to making bad decisions. Loved Ones can Pressure Writers to Launch a Writing Career Too Soon

Even totally supportive family members can sabotage your writing career by pressuring you to publish before you’re ready.

Most publishing professionals agree that the #1 reason for publishing failures is the rush to publish too soon .

And the #1 reason writers publish too soon is pressure from family members who don’t understand the publishing business.I am amazed how many non-writers think writing a novel is the same as typing. They constantly ask why writing a novel takes so long.Then they assume a completed first draft is ready to publish.The latter can be forgiven. Every movie or TV show about a writer, ever, shows them writing “the end” and immediately sending the book off to a publisher.But as we know, that never happens in real life. Or it shouldn’t.Unfortunately some family members may be such believers in this delusion that they’ll send the manuscript off to an agent without the writer’s consent. These people (often doting moms) send howlingly clueless queries to agents, thinking the writer is simply afraid to publish. (BTW, […]

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