Thursday, November 09, 2006

Support and Understanding

(A follow up to the previous letter - see The Myths of Self-Publishing )

Dear Dead Beat,

How do you cope with lack of support and understanding from the people you live with? What do you do when the person you live with tells you that you should not be wasting your time, or it is too late for you? When they harp at you to give it up, and any success you have is berated and never enough to change their mind. What do you say to well meaning people who advise you to see what is out there selling and write like that or make art like that. As an artist and a writer, I get that all the time. --

Dear Harped Upon,

At the very least you cope by knowing Dead Beat is on your side. This writing business is not easy.. It is not easy if you want to write a best seller and make lots of money, but it is particularly not easy when you are not interested in writing what is ‘selling’.

Here’s Dead Beat’s belief - you have got to write whatever it is you want to write and not what other people want you to write, and you have to write this to the best of your ability by learning your craft. Success is not guaranteed, at least not financial or success of the published kind, but there is personal success, and who knows the former may come.

The thing is, we do not live alone in the world, and our actions affect other people, so we have to recognise this. So we need to get a balance in our lives. We should look at the people around us and try to understand their needs and wants and incorporate this with our own. If we are too driven, and ignore their needs interpersonal success can be lost. Compromise and balance - finding the right time and place to pursue our literary endeavours without ‘injuring’ others. This is different for each writer as their personal circumstances are different.
Dead Beat has four children to raise, a household to ‘maintain’, a chauffeur service (for the four little Dead Beats) to run, a hockey Dad hat to wear (all four Dead Beats playing this season!!), memberships of various committees and boards, a mentorship program, writing workshops, oh yeah and a novel and a collection of poems to write…

Dead Beat has a very understanding but very busy (and oft travelling) wife, Mrs Dead Beat, but Dead Beat has made a lot of compromises, a lot of time shuffling, has given up much. At this point in time the balance has been achieved and all are content. When the balance shifts, some more shuffling may have to be done. There are large periods of time (e.g. school holidays) when Dead Beat gets no writing done what so ever and on it goes…

Dead Beat is not looking for sympathy since he needs none.

All I can urge is that you find a way to balance your life - balance the finances - balance your time - so you can pursue your art in a way where no one feels compromised.

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