I know I wrote yesterday about the importance of good friends. Well, now I want to write about the disappointing friends. Not all my friends seemed pleased that I had finished my project. Not everyone was especially supportive. I suppose in any group of friends there is always at least one negative force. I like to call this person "The Dragger-Down."
The person who turned out to be the Dragger-Down was something of a surprise, really. I was aware that he could be quite negative a times, but I didn't expect he would be about this. It was a disappointment, and let me tell you, it really stung to read his email. He did congratulate me, to be sure. But he did so in only one sentence that read:
It's done, hooray.
Then he wrote:
I don't want to put a dampener on the achievement of finishing a whole book, but I think you should hold off on the whole bottle of red just for now... a review is a review, I've had lots of friends over the years go through reviews only to have rejections later on in the game, When the book goes to the printer, that's when the whole bottle is well deserved.
Now perhaps it is just an ego thing, but this hurt. To me, it was tantamount to being told I will fail. That finishing a manuscript that is the equivalent of four complete novels is not worthy of even a small celebration like a nice bottle of red wine. So what did I do with it?
I laughed at it. I didn't get mad at him. I didn't even email him back to let him know how disappointed I was that he didn't think that finishing four novels was worth celebrating. I emailed him to let him know that I am not an idiot. I am completely aware of how difficult it is to get published, particularly in this economic climate. I told him that the news was most certainly worth celebrating, and that I was going to have my wine regardless of what he thought, because, let's face it, 407 429 words and 789 pages of solid, single-spaced typing is absolutely worth celebrating, regardless of whether it gets published or not!
And you know what? I did have my wine and I did celebrate and it was fabulous! And even better than that, several of my friends jumped immediately to my defence (M.M. and K.W., you guys are awesome!), which made me feel better.
Now, he and I are still good friends and I won't hold this against him. It was probably in all truth just a clumsy attempt at trying to protect me from the inevitable disappointment of rejection letters, of which I am probably going to receive many.
From this I have learnt three things:
First, good friends (and family), as said yesterday, are an absolute must in any endeavour.
Secondly, and I'm very sorry to say this, choose what you say to which of your friends wisely. This doesn't mean abandon the friends that aren't as excited about your project as you are, just be careful what you say around them. Some people are just waiting for a chance to bring you down. I don't know why, so don't ask.
Lastly and certainly not least, celebrate even the smallest victories. If you finish a project, celebrate! Think of how many people never do finish a project they've started. Finishing is something incredibly special and so are you for doing so!