E.L. Doctorow said, "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." And every writer I've ever asked would agree. The thing is, the voices and conflicting opinions are so much louder inside our own brains. It's like having kids rollerskating through your house at the same time your husband is talking on the phone, yelling over the man channel that's currently blaring on TV, all while your trying to herd feral cats.
And the crazy doesn't end there. Being an author is living in a constant state of emotional turmoil when it comes to your writing, your editing, your time ... your sanity. Then you throw other people into the mix. You know, the only ones who kind of terrify you but you can't live without.
Now don't get me wrong. I freaking love my readers. They're absolutely my heroes. But they're also kind of like lurking peeping Toms because you know they've seen the inside of your very soul. Talk about a horror movie in the making.
Coming soon to a sanatorium near you.
But here's the thing. When you've known someone your entire life, and you're already an intensely private person, letting them thumb through the pages of your very make up and matter is a completely sanity stripping event. Granted, most readers don't approach books like writers. Thank God. They're still at a place where they can just sit back and enjoy a story for its entertainment. But when your middle-aged aunt or college-bound nephew picks up the YA romance you yourself constructed, you immediately rethink this incredibly poorly notion of being a writer.
You want people to like your story, to connect with your characters ... and then it completely freaks you the frick out when they do. Like, eeyuw. Please, dear aunt, don't ask me which of my male leads I think is hotter.
Of course there's the other side to the story. The one where you know that neighbor adores reading ... YA books ... and has never mentioned yours. Ever. Instant fear, doubt, and skepticism.