Boundary issue--writing is an actual job!

United States
December 31, 2007 1:05pm CST
Ok, I am developing a strange boundary issue, or at least I think it is strange. Lately, I have started to get upset when they interfere with my writing time. Growing up, I was taught that writing is not an actual career. It was a hobby, and not a really important one like auto mechanics or sewing. Therefore, when one is writing and someone needs you (or just wants your presence) you are supposed to drop everything and fly to their aid. No matter how much it hurts your writing. This has colored my choice of careers. It wasn't until recently that I started to consider being a writer my career and job. Of course, having an extended period of unemployment and ending up having the only source of income be my writing and student loans relabeled that idea fast; if only to save some pride (otherwise it would be unemployed for three and a half years). And the implication is that I am going to college to train for a job, and am going to quit writing after I get one. That is the type of social network that I am coping with (starting with my relatives, moving to my wife and inlaws, and to some of my old friends). My newer friends have always known me as a struggling writer (we are all poor college students, they don't care). So this boundary issue I am developing--snapping at people when they interrupt my writing time is distressing, to both them and me. And it is out of character for me. I am beginning to think of writing as my actual career and job, and not just something to fill in the resume while I train for something else. So is it just me? Do other writers have this issue of people not really considering their work to be real work, and writing to be a real career choice? And was it part of your upbringing? And how have you coped with it? I have tried the quiet logic approach, explaining things to people, now I am just losing it. Any suggestions?
3 people like this
7 responses
@Sillychick (3282)
• United States
31 Dec 07
Explain to them how much this means to you and how you feel disrespected when they don't take it seriously. Refer to it as work. If someone calls and says 'what are you doing? can you do___?' Tell them no, I'm working. I have had this problem before, now with writing, but as a preschool teacher. I was always upset when my father referred to it as my 'babysitting job.' He did not understand the extent of what I did and did not try when I tried explaining it to him. I eventually had to learn to let it roll off my back. People who don't do it don't understand what it is like for you.
2 people like this
• Italy
1 Jan 08
I write only for fun but I would love to be so good to make a job out of it. I think your reactions are normal, to write I need like you concentration and full immersion on my own world. You have to tell them what do you think about writing, and I think if you tell them you're making real money with it they'll learn is a real job. It's the same with singers and dancers, I don't know why these kind of occupations are not considered real job until you become famous
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 08
Yeah, I never figured that one out myself--how can something that was merely a hobby all of a sudden be considered a career when you become famous? Or start making a lot of money at it?
1 person likes this
• Italy
1 Jan 08
It's THE POWER OF MONEY, the strongest thing on earth!!! LOL. But sometimes even if you become famous they think it's a hobby. A friend of mine partecipated to an italian show for singers like American Idol and became famous... but people still think he has to find a REAL job.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 08
I keep telling people to define the term "real job." My current theory is that it is not a "real job" unless you are miserable and underpaid while doing it.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 08
Keep your dream of writing and never let it go. Is there a place you can go and hide?, haha, or a room you can call your own for your writing? Maybe let everyone know you do not want to be disturbed for a couple of hours...put a sign on the door or something?.....I really do understand what you're saying. I am not a writer per say, at the moment, but I do remember when I wanted to become a writer of children's books. My husband at the time also thought it was just a hobby and kept basically laughing at it all, telling me it'll never happen, and just not giving me any space to write. Thus, I let it go. That was many, many years ago, and a much longer story than I can write here. To write and think, you need quiet and time, plenty of time. From what I understand, alot of the bigger author's go away to cabins, or private area's to do their writing....but that's another world altogether. I hope this works out for you somehow and you keep up with your writing.
• United States
1 Jan 08
I don't consider writing as a career or job for myself but it still irks me that other people in my family take such little consideration of it. My husband gets mad if he had to pause a game he is playing to help with the kids but doesn't think twice about interrupting me when I'm trying to write. I have explained to him time and again that I need a certain...ambiance to write (quiet and clean). He is starting to get it. I don't write often (well, not often enough) but when I do set out to write he now tries to keep the kids away at least. My dad, on the other hand, sees writing as a waste of time. Time I should be using to clean the house and play games with the kids or take them outside. He wouldn't care if I was making millions off my writing--it is still just a hobby to him and should only be done when I am done with all my other chores and the kids are in bed. It sucks. It took me years to think of it as more then just a hobby that has to be worked around my life. Now when I want to write I close the door and tell everyone to stay out. I'm not sure how I would handle it if it were my career. I would think it would be easier since it is a job and I could say you get to leave the house for 8 hours a day to do your job so leave me alone for a few so I can do mine, lol.
1 person likes this
@patgalca (13816)
• Orangeville, Ontario
1 Jan 08
My husband respects my writing but wishes I would make some money off of it. We have been struggling since I became ill 11 years ago and have been unable to work outside the home. It has been such a burden on my husband that sometimes he gets to the point where he nags me about getting a job. When I get that book sold, he will shut up. But he doesn't always nag me, just when things become overwhelming for him. He sees things happening... baby steps. I joined a writing group and it has opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me and he has not stopped me once. I never really showed my dream and love for writing until the last decade or so but when my parents saw my writing they supported me 100%. They believe in me, no matter what I do.
1 person likes this
@kdhartford (1152)
• United States
1 Jan 08
My problem is that my job is starting to interrupt my writing, but the biggest concern is that my job doesn't thrill me any more. I was thinking about getting out of the office and into the field would do something, but now I'm just bored. So my own projects are what gets me going more than anything else.
• United States
31 Dec 07
I don't really have this problem. My family supports my writing and they are always the first ones to congratulate me and tell me how proud they are when I get something published on Associated Content. I'm now writing a book and they can't wait for me to finish it.
1 person likes this