Last month, I finished revisions to my novel. I was so happy - it's almost impossible to describe how happy I felt. I was smiling ear to ear - like the day I resigned from my last job after thinking I would be stuck there forever. The feeling was complete bliss.
I called my husband and told him the news. He was equally happy.
I texted my daughter at school, at the risk she would have her phone confiscated - as if everyone in high school isn't carrying a phone. She replied, "Awesome!" and I believe she meant it.
An IT recruiter called me to ask if I would like to interview for a software development job. I said, "No. Actually, I'm writing novels now. In fact, I finished one today." He said, "Congratulations!"
I posted it on Facebook and got lots of likes, mostly from my writing class friends.
Not everyone in my family seems to understand my urge to write. My dad thinks I should write, but only political articles, the kind he likes to read. I think his thought is that fiction doesn't serve a purpose. *Gasp!*
People, mostly in my family but some outside my family, give me the impression I am having delusions of grandeur, that I'm fooling myself if I think I'm ever going to write something anyone would want to pay money for, or perhaps that I'm just full of shit. It's possible I'm reading into the looks on their faces, but writing is not something they ask me about - maybe they aren't interested because they don't get it. Honestly, I don't get a lot of the things they spend their time on either.
Still, I wanted to spread my joy. I wanted to scream out loud, "I finished my novel!" I wanted to allow myself a moment where I could be proud of myself.
So I called a certain someone in my family. She said she was too busy to talk. I said I'll call her back later. She said, no, she had a minute now. I hesitated and then told her I finished my novel. It's done. I sent it out to people to read. I may have some small changes after that, but it's basically done. It's sixty-six thousand words!
Her response - Nothing. After an awkward pause, she rattled off her to-do list for the day.
I went from an extreme high to an extreme low. I may have apologized for calling. I flashed back to the moments where I told this someone I got accepted into an honors college program, that I made first chair in the honors band, that I got one promotion after the next at work until there were no more promotions to be had, and on and on. With every achievement, I got the same response as little Gru in Despicable Me: "Eh."
I called my husband and cried like a six year old. I told him I thought things had changed in that relationship, but it hadn't. He talked me up from my low to a place a little bit lower than I was before, but still a good place.
I accept the limitations of this certain someone. It sucks though. Writing is such a long and difficult process. Finishing a novel is like crossing the finish line on a course that is infinitely long. It would be nice to have this special someone at the finish line, but that's not going to happen.
I'm sure this lack of recognition is the thing that drives me forward, that motivates me to achieve goals, but I would prefer to be motivated by positive energy.
I scream this out to you, fellow insecure writers: I finished my novel! I did it!