Sunday, April 1, 2012
We all have the desire to be appreciated. We want our efforts recognized and our accomplishments known. We want to feel like we've made a difference to someone or something we've worked on.
I've drawn all my life. I was always better than average, but never super great. My art was appreciated among family, but really paled next to classmates work. I guess it just wasn't my strongest point. Writing was.
I started writing in sixth grade. It was for a school project where we would write a story and put it in a nicely bound book. I remember being in the spotlight through that class, between the books I wrote (smaller than a chapter of my published novel, but at the time, very lengthy), the six foot long scroll I made on a history of dragons, and my published poetry. I can't even begin to imagine how often my friends told me I should be a writer.
By the time I was writing Among the People Lost, friends were in college. To a lot of them, it probably seems like a really stupid thing to do. Why spend a couple hundred hours writing a book when I could be learning how to make thousands as a doctor? It was just generally ignored, for the most part.
The people who really appreciated it and kept me writing it were people on the internet and Tim. Tim read over every chapter as I wrote it and helped make sure everything was clear, well-written, and not stupid as hell. Halfway through the book, I started posting it to DeviantART, since by then, I knew how the rest was going to go and I was confident that I wouldn't have to backtrack and change the beginning.
I had several people tell me they were really enjoying reading it, and that meant a lot. It helped dull the fact that at least 98% of my friends didn't even care enough to read a chapter. When I learned how easy it was to self publish on Kindle, I decided that if the people reading it enjoyed it, it was good enough to be my first published novel.
Even after I put the book on Kindle, most of my friends didn't seem to be too impressed. I must have at least eight people that said they'd pick it up and never have. It's disappointing to think that very few people are actually willing to put in a few minutes to read a bit and support your work.
When I applied at Target in November, the interview was a series of questions on accomplishments and team work and all sorts of things that really don't indicate how well you work a cash register. I used my book publication to answer a question about a big project, and the guys interviewing me seemed really impressed. I've mentioned it to a couple coworkers at Walmart, and they seem really damn impressed, too.
The people I'm getting the most appreciation out of are the people who wish they could have done the same thing rather than going into a job unloading trucks or asking nervous people tons of questions. I imagine that once all my friends are done with school and hating their careers, they'll look at me continuing to do my art and my writing, and some of them will wish they hadn't given up on their own personal goals.
A little appreciation really goes a long way. I've barely gotten any, and it's still been enough to keep me going on this path lined with words and painted trees.
My recent digital paintings: