Frustration is an unbearable feeling. And I’m feeling a lot of that lately. It’s not just because no literary agent is showing interest in my work; it’s because none of the people I know are willing to read my work. No one – no one – is interested in When the Lilies Turn Orange at all. No one’s going, “Omg, I absolutely love the characters you created and I especially love this scene where (insert scene)…” Everyone’s just telling me to keep going at it and that my story’s fine. Fine is not a critique. It is hardly even an opinion at all. Worse, it might even mean that they didn’t bother to read it, so this word is all they can offer to get me off their backs.

I don’t understand. Why isn’t anyone interested at all? Does my story really suck that much? My worth as a writer has been shot to shit. If I can’t even get my friends and family to support it, who else can I get? Those published writers, they all seem to have members of their family or friends who are such devout fans of their books, so much so that they read every draft, and go into long, in-depth discussions as to how to bring the book further. That is true dedication, that is true interest and fandom. People whom I had expected would read my story and get excited about it – at least relate to the characters – aren’t. I’m not demanding them to go around promoting my book, but somehow I can’t help but feel this sense of disappointment, you know?

I was just listening to Runaway World by Making April, and the song brought me back to that glorious period just after A’s and I kept going to Toa Payoh stadium to run/walk and then the library later to do research for/work on my story. The magic is still in that song. It was so much fun working on Lilies; it gave me such joy to be thinking of how I should move the story forward, or make the characters interact, or reveal something each chapter bit by bit until the end, or finally tie everything up at the end.

I remember the almost-debilitating sense of loss that had settled upon me as I edited the last page of the very first stand-alone novel I’d completed (previous attempts don’t count – they’re more like trial runs to me, since none of them were ever as solidly close to me like Lilies was). I miss playing Runaway World repeatedly when I needed to write a scene between Connell and Raven, and I miss working on Lilies altogether. I put so much of myself into that story.

Want to know why?

Because I had fallen in love with it. It may sound conceited, what I’ve just said. But I’m sure every writer is in love with their stories, especially if they’ve seen it all the way to the end. Why else would they believe in it so much as to go to all the trouble of looking for an agent, going through all the editing process and promotional events? They believe in the story they had to tell, the story they had worked hard to tell for the past year or so, just like I believe in mine. Lilies has become part of my life; it stands for a period of time in my life that I truly enjoyed. Writing a novel, you see, is like what child birth is reputed to be like: you forget all the pain – the frustration, the writer’s blocks, the days you doubt yourself – once it’s over. After the novel’s complete and edited, it’s your baby, a piece of you and you’d do anything to see it do well.

That’s why it pains me so much now that no-one believes in my baby the way I do. Will it have to come to the point where I’d have to pay people to read my story? That would be a tragedy.

All this angst kind of makes me wonder if passion for something is enough to take you where you want to be.

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