Several years ago I sold Partylite candles and gifts. It was a direct sales job I ran parties in people's homes. I was actually pretty good at it. My unit leader, a woman who was full on into selling Partylite full time, often said, "Don't let the lemonheads get in your way."
What she meant was that any time you undertake a new endeavor, there are going to be people out there who want to discourage you. Maybe they mean well, like they don't want you to get hurt. Maybe they have no confidence in you and think you'll make a fool of yourself. Maybe they just don't believe in what you're doing.
It was true when I sold candles to middle class wives and it's true now with writing: Lemonheads are everywhere. When you tell someone you are a writer, the reaction goes one of a couple ways:
1) They try to look impressed and ask what you've had published. This will then lead to you trying to explain how you haven't had anything published YET or that you have, and it's digital only, OR that you've e-published and they can only get the book online.
2) They stare at you, unable to formulate a response and wind up coming out with something like: Wow, that's interesting. And do you make money doing that?
3) They look at you and say, "Really? You? You're writing something and you expect us to read it?"
It's that third thing I want to really address right now because the first two are just products of well meaning people not understanding the process. They mean us no harm. That third one, however, can...and often does...come from the most unexpected, cruelest sources.
Friends, relatives, fellow writers. You know, the people you'd THINK would support you.
It's happened to me, and it is shattering. Your core is broken, and you question your ability to do pretty much everything.
When I was work shopping my second novel, "Lies in Chance" my writers group was very patient. We affectionately called it "The Stupid Novel" and most of the comments were very constructive and made the book what it is today. (While there aren't a lot of reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, they are very positive.) One person, however, someone I thought would be most supportive, spent quite a lot of time telling me how this book was never going to be publishable.
Perhaps that person was right, since I did publish it on my own. However, this is the same person who became loudly critical of my work the minute I sold my first book, Dream in Color, to Wild Rose Press. (Again, not a lot of reviews, but they are all very positive. You should really read my stuff!)
Ultimately, the relationship ended, and the parting volley from this person destroyed my confidence in myself on all levels.
Some years later, it still hurts. But it's something I have to work through because I do have two novels I'm marketing out there, and I am working on another novel and a three book humor series. I also hold a full time job, have two demanding teens at home, and a house and husband. So the reality is I either let this one lemonhead take over my brain and end the thing I love doing the most, or I battle through it, put down my own insecurities, and move forward.
We writers, all of us, we understand that this isn't an easy life. And while it would be nice if the difficulties came from people other than those closest to us, that's now how life works always.
So let me encourage you, my writer friends...ignore the lemonheads! Listen to those you truly trust: Your writers group, your critique partners, your beta reader. You are going to chose your own path when it comes to publishing. We live in a wide open world now and publishing is both the most difficult it's ever been,. and the easiest for us unknowns. Don't let someone who is on a different path break you down because of what you chose to do with your writing career.
And if you ever need a virtual hug or pat on the back.... you know where to find me!
Now go forth, buy my books, and WRITE!