Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being a Parent Author—Check Your Ego at the Door

Bearing a burden-- Mortimer Ludington Menpes--1860-1938When I’m meeting people for the first time as a mom and a writer, I invariably get the question, “Aren’t your children just so proud of you?”

I don’t ever hesitate when answering. Yes, they are proud of me. Of course! I’m Mama. But the truth is, they’re not any prouder of me than they are of my husband (who is a computer engineer.)

There are times, though, when they find my insights and career more interesting:

When I go with them into the local bookstore and I answer to ‘Riley’ when an employee there calls out my pen name. (I always remind them when we go in that the bookstore employees call me by a different name.)

When my editor emails me the book covers.

When I get new promotional materials (bookmarks, etc.)

As a writer, I’m influencing them in some ways:

The other day my son mentioned that he might be interested in journalism, so I must be having some sort of influence! :) Although I had to blink at the journalism…not sure how that industry will be holding up in the future.

When they don’t enjoy a book, I always want to know why. They’re able to give a critical review of a book and where the writer went wrong (in their opinion.)

They see writing as a business as well as a form of expression. They realize how important it can be to a writer.

Because books are so important to me, I make sure to hook them up with good reads. When I hear of something I think they’ll be interested in, I get it. Although I take them to the library and bookstore to encourage them to find books, I spend a lot of time making a targeted search for the kinds of books I think they’ll enjoy—I want them to find a treasure (which means they’ll continue being eager to read.) I don’t leave finding books up to them—and because I’m plugged into the industry, I’m finding some amazing books for them.

Where they get it wrong:

Because I know so many writers, they think I know all the writers. They’ll hold up their current books and ask if I know the author. Funnily enough, a couple of times I have. Which just goes to show how amazing social media is. Of course, though, 9 times out of 10 I have no idea who the writer is.

Summing up:

I think it again just proves the point that when we’re writing a book, we definitely need to be writing for ourselves and our readers. Family loves us no matter what—but may not love our writing quite as much as we do!

What does your family think about your writing? Are they supportive? Enthusiastic? Interested? Ambivalent? Does the fact you’re writing change the way they look at books and reading? Who are you writing for?