THAT DARN NOVEL!
I might have largely recovered from depression and anxiety but my brain still suffers. You don't go through thirty years of it without some repercussions. And it invariably, without fail, centres on my novel and, in the past, what my parents and siblings would have thought of it (not my children, Husband, Husband's family...). They knew I was working on one, but never gave details.
It's been a humungous undertaking and it's definitely a beginning, a muddle and an end! I've said umpteen million times in my intro letter that I'm blogging about the writing of it, and here I am again.
It's over a hundred chapters, but many of those chapters are only a quarter of an A4 page long, so it's going to be less, ultimately. I'm printing out each chapter for Husband, my chief critic, to read. He's very honest and very good for me. As I say, he's honest, but it's taken a long time for me to finally say: 'Read and critique these chapters for me, please.' because I was so sensitive and nervous about the rather delicate and mature nature of the subject matter, I didn't have the courage for someone so close to me to read it.
Then I got better. Then I decided it's high time The Novel got out there! By hook or by crook. I've had such good responses to it, particularly on Facebook groups, writing and otherwise, that I would have thought that that would make it all worthwhile and my brain would be happy. And it is, largely. Except sometimes it ain't. Especially when I see a film advertised on the box, or hear a piece of evocative music and it reminds me of The Novel. I want to finish it! I want to get it out there!
After a particularly emotional moment this evening over it (Husband had picked out a section that didn't ring true so I rewrote it last night and it was his job to reread it. Eek.) I was feeling quite frustrated by the whole biz, and Husband asked me when would I feel satisfied and happy with the thing. When I'd finished it? When ten people had read it? Twenty? Fifty? A hundred? It turned out I would be pretty satisfied when several hundred have read it and enjoyed it! That's not asking much, is it?
Fact is, one of my mental issues is the lack of a definite goal post for it. No deadlines. I have one now. According to Husband, it's likely to take two years for us to go through it together, at the current rate. Not good enough. Could do better. And I will. Whether or not I get it published traditionally, or e-publish, is a matter for the future. And whether or not I write further stories for my heroine is also another matter.
But a big factor in this biz concerns my family - parents, siblings etcetera. My parents largely knew I was writing a humungous novel, but I always told them it was set in the west (they did always encourage my western hobby with enormous bemusement, I'll give them that!) but it was a subject they wouldn't like or be interested in so we always left it at that. My elder brother has been writing a novel himself for years, but I'm just as loathe to talk to him about it for similar reasons.
So, every time I get down about the novel and Husband and I CBT - cognitive behavioural therapy - it, and when my family are touched upon I invariably burst into tears. Fact is, I'm sorry that I could never discuss it with any of them. That they had no idea of this enormous undertaking. But, as usual, I must prick that blasted balloon of past pains and send it zoop! through the window. My little family - Husband, kids, Husband's family - are the important ones. They know what I'm doing and there's tons of encouragement and inspiration there, even if it ain't their 'thaing'.
I will get there. I must! Must must must. Or I will burst!