There's a good chance that if you're a writer at some point in time, even your pet goldfish swam away and swished its tail at you when you just desperately wanted to be heard. It seemed no one would listen. Maybe your parents and siblings were perfect and available to hear your every childish whim. I doubt it though.
STAGE ONE OF NOT BEING HEARD:
The paper holds what our family's attention could not. Today @pirate_bb told me via Twitter that she wants to be a writer, but does not have the support of her family. I suspected that she turned to writing to be heard and it made sense to me that her family wouldn't listen when she declared her desire to write professionally. Ah, what's what? The sound of thousands of writers rolling their eyes and sighing? Yes, yes I think that is what it was.
To progress to stage two: accept that you do not need permission to write...they can't stop you!!! And, you can even write about them. Waaaah ha hahaha!!
STAGE TWO OF NOT BEING HEARD:
I love chatting with @hoodedman, because he's a fiercely independent writer without apologizing for it. He has been writing what he wants to read since the 70s and his fans love him for defending artistic integrity with passion. He keeps me reminded of this truth.
No matter where we are in our careers, the paper still waits to soak in what we need it to take away. The skill we develop in this process molds and shapes our communication style. As we learn the technique, our hands fumble over the covers and pages of authors' work we enjoyed. They changed our lives. We choose pen, paper, or keyboard, because we follow their example.
To progress to stage two: Feel the power of the written word!!
STAGE THREE OF NOT BEING HEARD:
Today @slushpilehero tweeted:
@PeevishPenman i tend to like kind of odd stuff, stuff that cuts right to the bones, you know? ones that make you think.I understood. The distinction of genres help us to identify immediately which writers get us. I mean that it honestly happens in that order. We read people who understand us. It may seem to be the other way around, but it isn't. @Slushpilehero and I both adore the work of @JeremyCShipp, not because simply because he's an odd genius who continuously rearranges the cosmos for our entertainment, but because deep down (ha! that's doublespeak for on the surface) we're odd, too.
Everyone browses the libraries and bookstores for people they identify with. Those authors honed their craft to the point that we understood that they understood us. Ah, isn't it great to be understood?
To progress to stage three: Listen! Read! And then bask in the glorious epiphany that comes disguised as the sneaking suspicion that if you are willing to pick up someone else's book, someone else may want to pick up yours.
STAGE FOUR OF NOT BEING HEARD:
We were heard! At least, a bit. Someone read our writing and what they said indicated that they even paid attention...to parts...the ones we let them see anyway.
Maybe it wasn't the best experience. Whether they said so or not, we knew we started as amateurs though we continued because we also knew we were undiscovered geniuses needing discovery or that our message mattered.
To progress to stage five: Breathe in and breathe out. Repeat. Grab a paper bag and tell yourself its going to be okay. Yes, your critics are always wrong and just jealous, but you do need to work on your grammar and punctuation or whatever it was...
STAGE FIVE OF NOT BEING HEARD:
Write for readers and read for writers. Let this cycle continue wildly onward spinning out of control. You're communicating now. You're heard a little more each time. You've arrived.
While the world rages around us, remember those individuals who put pen to paper, finger pads to key pads and saved us from not being heard through their example. Then, do that for others. Be true to yourself so that others can as follow that example. Be funny, sad, blunt, romantic, clever, dark... and entertain even.
Do not deny your readers and the future writers. Every time you write, you give others permission to follow your example. Every time you share your work, you pave the way like a pioneer with a pen. Each criticism you endure and each time you recover from self doubt, you tell some one just like you that they have the right to be heard and forge the wilderness of artistic freedom. It doesn't matter what you write about...
Don't wait for permission. Don't wait for anyone to say that they will read your work or support your career. You do not require the support of the people closest to you if they will not give it. Just write and you will be heard.
P.S. goldfish never listen.