Recently having lunch with a friend, I hesitantly brought up my writing and how it’s been going. The reason for my hesitation was out of fear of alienating or shaming my friend – she’s a wonderful and creative writer, one who has had less output than she’d prefer over the past year or so. I never want her to think I’m rubbing my wordcount in her face or anything of the sort, and while she says she’ll stop me if our talks on writing ever get uncomfortable, I still worry.
I recently came to the realization that I had surpassed the 100-page mark for an upcoming story series, basing my numbers on an average paperback page length. 100 pages, and I probably have another 50 or more to go before the story is wrapped up. Unlike most of my fiction entries being released today, the posts in this series are all over 500 words, telling a much richer and fully-developed story than others I’ve written.
I am someone who consistently and constantly seeks validation from all kinds of external sources – a few dear friends, website statistics, word counts. I still don’t consider myself a writer, just someone who writes, but I am excited to realize that something I have created, and continue to create, has reached such lengths, far and away outpacing any of my other fiction arcs both in scale and breadth.
Knowing so many truly artistic people as I do, it’s hard for me to find it appropriate to celebrate my successes. For those who are producing less than they want, I worry that talking about my recent glut of output will be a downer. For those who are more prolific than I, I worry about coming off as a child handing scribbles to their parents for appreciation; “look, I can do it too!”
Earlier today I saw a great tweet by an author that I wish I could find again. The essence was that it wasn’t required for someone to read or be knowledgeable of the author’s works to be their friend – if you like their work though, they’d love to hear it. If you didn’t like their work, keep that to yourself.
I thought it very well-said (far better than the above) and hit on something to which I can relate – the only thing worse than having people ignore my work is having people bad-mouth it. Not that this is directed at anyone in particular – far from it – but I think it speaks tangentially to my above point; I genuinely worry sometimes that me talking or going on about my own small successes may serve as an insult or put-down to others, and I don’t want to be someone who pushes people away just because of the small moments of pride I have in my own work.