Let me tell you what writing a novel feels like to me.
It feels like spending years baking a cake of torture and bliss, iced with insecurity, with a red cherry of self-aggrandizement on top. And once the cake is baked, this depository of all your hopes, dreams, and hard work, you will put it out there for all to taste. You'll be excited and terrified and your heart will beat 1000 beats per seconds. People, tens of thousands of them, will taste it.
And they'll say, 'meh'.
Or they'll say, 'sorry too sweet'. They'll say, 'I like pink icing better'. Some will say 'this is terrible awful very bad writing.' (ahem I mean cake-making, but I ran out of baking powder for my imagery) or they'll say 'I cannot believe publishers thought this fit to print' (newsflash, they didn't.)
You know this as you make your cake but by now you're knee high in batter. There is batter everywhere in fact, clogging your pores, coming out of your eye sockets, clouding your jugment and turning you into a bad friend, mediocre mother and absentee wife. It is your reality and it feels far more real than anything in the world around you.
But some will take the time to write a review, or send a sweet email and say, 'your cake changed my life'.
These are the people you bake for.