I sat down with a long-time friend the other night (notice I avoided the term “old friend”…) and at some point the conversation turned to my book, and how she was looking forward to reading it. That’s when it kind of hit me — people would actually be reading this thing I’m doing.
I mean, yeah, I knew that. But I never actually felt it until that moment. It was scary.
Not scary for the reasons you might think though. I write for a living, so putting words down on paper and having them reviewed and sent back for changes and pushed out in a little paper boat to the Sea of Public is an everyday thing for me. (I’m just saying.)
But I think it was that phrase “I’m looking forward to reading it…” What if she doesn’t like it? It’s not like a pot roast or a mixed drink that you can smile through it or (if you’re close) say, nah, that’s not for me, but thanks anyway. This is something I’ll have worked on for a year or more by the time it’s done. There’s no faking it either. Wow, that’s pressure.
I’ve always been of the mind that if you like something, chances are someone else is going to like it too. So I haven’t been particularly worried about the book. It might not find a publisher, it might not win a million awards. But someone is bound to like it, if I get it out there.
There’s more riding on the line though when friends and family read it. Especially if they don’t like it, or (at the very least) see things that need changed.
Sure, I dream of everyone loving it. But that’s not going to happen. The best I can do is, well, the best I can do. After that, it’s out of my hands. I hate the idea of disappointing people — I won’t lie. But that’s inevitable, I think. Not because it’s not worth it but because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. After all, not everyone loves The Great Gatsby — some people actually can’t stand it. Why should my book be any different?
So I’m going to put it out there right now. To all of you out there reading this who will be (eventually) reading that. Please, be honest! Tell me what you don’t like if it can be fixed (and it can always be fixed). Tell me if there is a little niggling thing that’s bugging you. Tell me if it just, overall, isn’t your cup of tea.
I mean I really, truly hope that all of you out there really, truly love it. But don’t worry about hurting my feelings if it’s not.
I can take it.
Got some work in on the novel today — a couple of hours actually, polishing the first few scenes again. Looks like I have some clear sailing for the next little bit, so I’m looking forward to writing every day again for the next little bit. Including tomorrow morning. So I should go to bed.