They just don’t get it!

Today, I was telling my dad how lately life had been stressing me out…enough that I talked it over with my doctor and got prescribed a “happy pill”.  (Okay, those of you who thought I was slipping into dementia, blahhh!!!)  Anyway,  I also warned him that I was on deadline for a writing contest next week and would be available only for emergencies…please.  His response was that maybe I should give up the stuff that came with deadlines.  After I freaked out a little, I tried to explain to him that as a selling author, I would have to get used to deadlines, and probably very short ones at times.

On the way home, I got to thinking…those closest to us usually just don’t get it.  They don’t understand that writing is more than putting the story to paper, mailing it out, and getting a check.  To them, it can be done in your spare time…in between the “important” stuff like day job, housekeeping, washing the car.  I know my family didn’t understand why I had to do sooo much more travelling to promote my eBooks than I did with my Silhouette Desire.  The difference between a well-known name publisher and a new publisher (not counting a new medium!), totally escaped them.

Other missed understandings–I actually had an acquaintance (not a friend, thank God!) who felt sure that if I wrote her life story, it would be a best seller.  She survived an abusive marriage by killing her husband in self defense to protect her unborn child while the old man was beating on her… again.  When I explained that while her story of survival was inspiring, I wrote romance, about love.  Her response?  “But I still loved him when I pulled the trigger.”  Somehow, she couldn’t understand that because her relationship story didn’t have a happy ever after, it wasn’t a romance.

Then there is this gal at work who tells one and all that “Jackie writes smutty books!”, giggling all the while.  Time and time again I explain that I write sensual romance, not smut.  Of course in my defense, it didn’t help when one of our female doctors announced to one and all that after she finished reading my Desire, she woke her husband up at three in the morning for some action.  Flattering, but not conducive to convincing people I’m a serious writer who creates stories about healthy, loving relationships.

But I think the most frustrating misunderstanding is from my friends who have read all my Star Trek/Science Fiction stories, but don’t read my romances.  Oh, they’re proud of me for selling, but they’re waiting for me to write a “real” book.  The kind that is eligible for a Hugo nomination!  Though my sister did read, love, and re-read WARRIOR’S HEART, but I have to wonder…is it because the hardcover made it a real book?  🙂

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8 thoughts on “They just don’t get it!

  1. You’re absolutely right, Jackie! The people closest to me don’t understand either. Especially, if I’m talking about how proud I was that my character did such-and-such. All I get are odd looks…like are you nuts?
    Oh, and about the happy pills. If they work, just smile. 🙂 (btw–we’re writers, we’re all a lil loopy!)

    Ash

  2. Jackie, any book you get paid to write is a REAL book. Remember that when your friends, acquaintances and family members are busting your chops. Never apologize for getting a little pharmaceutical help… everyone needs a little boost once in a while. Deadlines will make you crazy, but it’s worth it. It truly is. spw

  3. I totally agree with you, Jackie. When the kiddo was in school, I was always the mother strong-armed into driving on field trips, chaperoning parties, etc, because, after all, I didn’t work. Our neighors expected me to drop in for their coffee chats mid-mornings because I didn’t work. Even with family, it’s not like I have a real job so, of course, I can leave it and go when I want.

    When I first moved back here thirteen years ago, for some odd reason my mom and one sister showed up at a book signing there. Turned out my sister knew one of the authors also signing from way back, and that author gave her an earful about me. According to Mom, my sister returned to her after talking to this person and, sounding very puzzled, said, “Wow, did you know Marilyn is pretty well-known for this stuff?”

    Hope the meds help you. If they don’t, keep trying till you find the right ones for you. We want you happy, writing and ready to smack wrong-thinking people right. 😉

  4. Wow, Jackie, you said it all with the title, because my extended family doesn’t get it–Amy & Don do, as well as a couple friends, but that’s it. I get the “oh, you can go back to writing.” My fav is the ‘real’ job.
    I always like to say, better living through chemistry!
    You’ve always inpressed me even since I saw you at NORA!

  5. I would like to know what your friends’ definition of a real book – if they don’t read certain genres, does that mean they are “fake” books?

    If I enjoy an author who usually writes in one genre and expands into another, I will read it – hate to think of all the good books I would have missed if I didn’t.

  6. Jackie,

    My mother was one of my staunchest supporters before she died in 2006. She knew I wanted to write romance novels and was interested in hearing about the process and how the book was coming, but she didn’t read romances and wasn’t romantic herself in the conventional sense. She kept kept telling me that I “shouldn’t limit” myself. I told her I like love stories would tease her about not being romantic. She did understand about having to treat writing like a business though.

    Claude Mary

  7. CM–my mom supported me also, but she wasn’t really impressed with my romances until she discovered my first book was available at the Tulsa Library. 🙂

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