Not even 2 hours after I completed my WOW article I was contacted by a parent asking if the WOW information applied to being a POW (Parent of Writer)
I debated my reply thinking “you should ask someone who knows as I really don’t” and “Here is some advice” although the last statement made me nervous being as I am not an expert, I’m unsure of what I am saying.
Of course a few minutes of watching various TV news casts and Politicians reminded me of a basic truth: You don’t need to have a clue what you’re saying in order to say it.
So here is my attempt at advice if any of you want to chime it please feel free!
How do you know you’re a POW? Much like a WOW there are warning signs. These are almost identical to the WOW but there is an additional sign. If your child is requesting books for their birthday not just Twilight or Harry Potter or the Hunger Games but Indie books like “Jamie Ryder:” or “The Hope Series” or “Legends of Windermere” . Unlike underground bands, Indie authors to kids are unique. There is no extra cool factor for knowing about them or having read them before everyone else. No matter how you cut it the main stream child will think reading is geeky/dorky/uncool. Fret not; in a world where ‘Main Stream’ means doing something dangerous, malicious, destructive, or just f^*&ing stupid on YouTube is cool! This is a good sign for the future. The only reason your child would read these is because their work is outstanding and the authors should be break out sensational hits. Your child wants to join them.
So sadly you’re a POW and your child is a Writer. I know it can be disappointing. You probably hoped they would be grow up to be food service personal or a piano player at the local brothel. Fear not your child could still have a future. And with some proper intervention, a good one.
So what as a POW can you do? Well there is no simple answer to that. Children are stubborn. The more you discourage the more they will want it. However reverse psychology will also fail, kids always see right through it.
The only thing you can do is breath and let it happen naturally. Unlike WOW’S with Children/Young writers destroying their computers and breaking fingers will more likely result in charges then in your actually stopping them.
My advice: encourage them while being their parents.
Find out what indie author they really enjoy and contact them. You will be surprised how easy it is to get an introduction. Of course as a parent you want to be sure this author is not a drunken miscreant idiot. You can maybe tolerate 2 of the 3 but try to avoid a hat trick.
Then once you are comfortable with them, let your Child introduce themselves then see where things go. Indie authors are some of the most supportive people you will ever meet. Most will encourage your writer, giving tips, showing tricks, and helping with motivation. Unfortunately Indie authors are also human so some will be a$$holes that frankly should not be allowed into society unsupervised. Treat them like you would any of your other children’s online friends and contacts: watch them like a hawk! If you start to see them pushing your POW off the writing path [or worse], be a parent and intervene.
Your writer is going to face all the same problems that other authors do (Editors, Trolls, Predator Publishers, the list is endless) but your writer is going to have two extra hurdles to face:
1) Peers: Children are funny creatures. From what I have been able to gather there are more donors/incubators then there are actual parents! When your writer puts out their first published piece they should expect some their Peers to try to bring them down. Look at all creative musical types that get torn down all the time, right up to the day they fill a stadium with 50K fans. There is something about artistic types that bring out the green-eyed monster in kids. Their donors/incubators have done little to teach these hell spawn how to effectively deal with these feelings so they lash out at the source IE your writer.
2) Sobriety: unless you live in some permissive southern state your child will not be indulging in any ‘author juice’ to get past the monsters mentioned. If they are, we need to talk about whether you’re a POW or an Incubator/Donor. As a POW you have to support them and help them past all the problems. Help them find their strength. [By the way, once you’ve done this, you are not allowed to go beat up their trolls or peers] You’re Indie author can help, but the heavy lifting for this will fall on you. On the Plus side: having a parent support and helping them find their own strength is worth a 24 pack of ‘author juice’
I also advise the same thing I told the POW for the same reasons: Never read or critique your child’s work. You have the exact problem that your WOW counterparts have, with the added complication that you CAN’T be objective. A WOW ended up with their writer by some form of choice. Some feature that hinted at their desire to be a writer. Be it their love of books or the fact they said on the 4th date “one day I want to be a writer”. As a POW, the writer is yours. You’ll love whatever they write if for no other reason than it’s your own child/teen showing a talent. Maybe one you had but never developed or maybe something new in the family tree. Even if you try you can NOT be as objective as your writer will need – hence the whole ‘find a writer to help you’ thinking.
The only last piece of advice I have: Once you have come to terms with being a POW sit back and enjoy it, but don’t start shopping for a new import sports car. The current twisted world of publishing isn’t about POW’s getting new cars.
But that’s another post all together.