I was visiting with some old work colleagues yesterday and one of my friends asked me what my plans were for the weekend. I said I didn't really have any aside from writing. Now this is a good friend of mine who knows I'm working on my first novel and knows how important it is to me, but at the same time as soon as I said it I knew that if I sat there and spent the next half hour trying to explain, she wouldn't really understand... it's not her fault, of course... she's not someone who spends part of her weekend chipping away at this mammoth story.
I used to have Sunday as my day to write, but I found that I'd crank out all these pages then go over to my parents' for our weekly dinner just bursting to tell someone about the work I'd done. I'd get over there and just watch their eyes sort of glaze over as soon as I opened my mouth. Again, I know it's not their fault. I suppose part of me just wished they were as into it as they are my sister's PhD efforts.
But even there, I don't blame them. I'm at an age where I'm surrounded by people who all seem to be in sync and in step. They've all got toddlers and they're worrying about how they'll scrape together the money for their first mortgage or getting their mutual funds topped up... and there's absolutely NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT... I just kind of feel like the crazy one, standing on the perimeter, mulling over my page count and whether or not the tonal shifts in a chapter are coming off the way I want them to.
I tried to get my friends involved as beta readers. I got some great feedback--both positive and negative--when I was only sending out a few chapters. In the latest rounds though the number of people reading has dropped. In the last one, when I sent around the beta copy representing about half of the book, I got no responses... which was honestly not even that surprising to me... at 200+ double-spaced pages I knew those obstacles of toddlers and jobs and everything else would get in the way.
I don't even think it's some kind of desire for validation. I'm writing a story and part of the act of storytelling is to convey something to SOMEONE ELSE. Granted, I'm sure coming to a place like this is very useful... if only to surround yourself with people who don't think you are crazy for putting so much time and effort into what you're doing... and I suppose if I really, REALLY wanted to share I could post sections of the novel for ye great wide web public to read, but honestly I'm just not comfortable doing that at this stage.
I guess this is my roundabout way of asking... do you sometimes feel out of step from those around you because you write?