Aaaaaah! Sto-o-opp!

OK, so here’s a scene.

You tell your parents you like writing and they immediately get that plump, dewey-eyed, my-child-is-a-genius look …


41st_Annual_Annie_Awards,_Hunter_Freberg,_Stan_Freberg,_2014 son-388523_1280 532px-Srimathumitha_getting_a_prize_From_M.S.Subbulakshmi_Amma proud parents  …


and they say ‘That’s so wonderful!’

and they go out and buy you a pen (yes, a pen!)




and an expensive journal

notebook by jonas lowgren on flickr


full of blank pages


(so no pressure there).


And now, when they see their friends, they start saying Little Zannie wants to be a writer’ (see – already taking it way too far)

and they slip in a couple of not-so-subtle  boasts about how you once wrote Granny a really clever birthday card and how you could read while still in the womb.

And then they go and tell Granny the exciting news and she goes (posh voice) ‘Oh, that’s simply ma-a-arvellous!’



and goes to find a dress for the awards ceremonies

and she tells Auntie Gwendoline and Gwendoline thinks it’s fantastic. 



And you are just going aaaaaaahhhh! Sto-o-o-p!

scream by Daria on Flickr


And, as with so many other things, you’re wishing you never told them.



Well, I’m here to tell you that

you are the one who is right about this.

Because (as in so many areas) there are things about writing your parents just don’t know.

First thing: Sometimes writing is great and exhilarating and fantastic

Sometimes it’s easy and charming and cool and pleasant.







Anyone got stories about writing being horrible? Did you stop? Did you find you kept writing anyway? Why? Why do we do that?


your parents wish you well.They really do.That’s one of the great truths about being human.

So if they are excited about you being a writer, that is because they think it’s going to be lovely.



They think writers sit down under a tree with a pretty notepad and it’s all beautiful and peaceful and fascinating and the stuff just pours out of them ***** and then they have a book and then they go on the radio and on the stage at festivals and everyone talks to them about how clever they are.


And YES.

Bits of that picture are right.

Some of the time.

But there’s a part of the story that’s missing — somewhere around the location of  the ***** up above. And the thing that’s missing is huge and complicated and important.

So I wanted to put down some thoughts about it.

And, yes …

there has been a lot (and I mean A LOT) of stuff written about this.

Can you tell us some good websites that  have advice about writing? Could you please share in the comments section?

But I have done a bit of writing now. Not as much as some other people, but I have gained a few insights (learned mostly fairly painfully) and I just think they might be worth sharing.

I don’t know if my contribution is any better or more useful than the rest of it. Buy hey… you know … why not add to the pile?

Reese's Smile by Donnie Ray Jones on Flickr


*Thanks to these people for the images




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