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To feel this gutted about DH and my book

295 replies

Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 07:08

I probably am. Just surprised by how hurt I feel.

I’m one of those people who has wanted to write a book for years but lacked the confidence. I loved writing as a child but had a bad experience when toxic mother (now NC) found some of my writing and was so sneery about it I didn’t write again.

I had an idea for a novel years ago and earlier this year found the confidence to start writing it. At first I felt really uncomfortable about it and just imagined my mum looking over my shoulder and sneering at it. But I kept going and after a few weeks and 10,000 words found that I was really enjoying it. I’m now 155000 words into a novel that will hopefully be 450k words (big sweeping saga) and have absolutely fallen in love with writing again, I get so much enjoyment from bot the writing and the research as well as plotting, developing characters etc. It’s so hard to judge your own writing but I think what I’ve written so far is ok.

Have talked to DH about the book as I write it and he’s been reasonably interested. He actually has more of a background in writing than I do in terms of what he studied at Uni and parts of his job. I haven’t told anyone else I’m writing and asked him if he’d read what I’ve written so far. It felt like a big deal to share my writing with someone else and I told him to only read it when he has time.

Anyway he was away for a few days with lots of free time (ended up being much more than expected) and he said he’d read it then.

He got back yesterday and I guess I was hoping he’d bring it up and tell me what he thought. Eventually I asked him if he’d read it and he said, oh yeah meant to say, yeah I really liked it. He’d read only about 40 pages (he is a fast reader so not much for him) and didn’t seem to have much else to say about it. I asked him what he thought of a few aspects of it and he was very positive but didn’t seem to have put much thought into it.

I guess I’m just thinking about how it would have been if the roles were reversed, I’d have made the time to read it all and would have had lots to say even if I thought it was crap. At the very least I’d have said well done for picking up your own again and writing 1/3 of a book.

He has always made me feel as if he always has something more important than me going on so I guess it’s just a sore point. There’s always work to be done (he’s very invested in his job), a cup of tea to make it a pot to watch or a task that needs finished. Even on our wedding day I felt I hardly saw him as he was ‘just going to speak to X Y or Z - a couple of people joked on the day that I’d lost my husband as he was always off with someone else.

No snark please as I just feel really sad, I guess I just wanted a bit more encouragement.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

898 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 07:11

PS typos as I’m on phone in bed, my writing doesn’t have any!

OP posts:
RedHelenB · 05/10/2022 07:15

You sound a bit needy from your post. And critiquing your book was never going to go well, given what happened with your mother and you putting the blame on you not writing for years on comments she'd made.
Write for you, because you get something from it. I think yab a bit unreasonable.

ladydimitrescu · 05/10/2022 07:15

I think you're being a bit over sensitive, he's read some of it and said he likes it.
You don't need outside validation to continue to do what you love.

FrozenGhost · 05/10/2022 07:17

I can see why you feel that why, showing someone your writing feels very exposing and he didn't really respect that.

However I think in future don't show him and find a different test audience. I think sometimes it's hard for a partners to see something we've done, like writing, art, a project, something in business, etc, and think it's good. It's like they are just too close or something. Or to used to seeing you as "you", and not as a writer/artist/career person/manager/etc.

britneyisfree · 05/10/2022 07:19

Never rely on family & friends to read your books! Doesn't matter how much he usually reads if this isn't a genre he usually enjoys.

Get some beta readers! They will give impartial feedback.

Are you going to self or try and trad pub?

Best of luck!!

Youremyshininglight · 05/10/2022 07:20

Not unreasonable at all, I would feel sad too. Its something you have poured a huge amount of energy, thought and time into and he hasn't respected that or you. I would expect the people that care most about you to put some effort into caring about what you care about.its almost dismissive that you have to force a conversation about it. I would be disappointed that he's been so selfish. Do you have anyone else close to you that you could share it with? Ps. You should be proud of what you have achieved so far, particularly with the additional barrier of your toxic mum to overcome. Good luck with the rest of the book!

WinOutdoors · 05/10/2022 07:23

Gosh that's a really difficult position to put him in. It would be a difficult thing for any family member to do. Honest, but how honest? But knowing how deeply any feedback will affect you, he's really between a rock and a hard place.

In his shoes I'd have been dreading reading it.

Softplayhooray · 05/10/2022 07:23

OP meant kindly, I can imagine writing a book is like putting a bit of your own soul on the page, then laying it bare to be critiqued. Whereas for the reader it's a diverting thing to do for a few minutes so probably any feedback will be quite anti climactic!

I think your DH gave a good response, he is being a reader, enjoying the flow of the story, but it was only 40 pages so he won't have much to say as regards plot, twists, character development, etc. Wait until you've written the whole thing and he can read it cover to cover.

Are you going to submit it to publishers when you've finished it?

Paq · 05/10/2022 07:23

If you are going to write you need a much thicker skin! It could be that your DH hates your book but doesn't want to say.

erinaceus · 05/10/2022 07:24

Congratulations on getting started on your novel.

I think you need to separate your general sense that your DH has something more important to do, from your novel. To do otherwise is to shoot yourself in the foot, writing-wise, before you've really gotten started. If at every milestone in your book-writing you tie your sense of accomplishment to your DH's reaction, you are going to wear yourself out before you finish. It's also not really fair on your DH to hinge your sense of accomplishment on his reaction.

Find other test-readers for your work, and whilst you can share the progress you are making with your DH, don't demand that he reads it perhaps until it is finished. It's also really difficult to read and give feedback on something written by someone close to you.

Aprilx · 05/10/2022 07:25

I thought from your thread title and opening paragraph that you were going to say he rubbished it and said you were wasting your time. Instead he has read forty pages and been positive. So yes I think you are being over sensitive and unreasonable.

Hearthnhome · 05/10/2022 07:25

I think this is a really difficult one. I can see why you feel he isn’t being supportive.

But honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with sitting and reading a book dp wrote and giving feedback. What if I hate it? Like really hate it? What if I love it and everyone else hates it? If I love it, is it likely he thinks I blowing smoke up his arse. What if it’s just not the type of book I like, so unlikely to be able to give an objective view. and getting through a book that size when it’s not something that interests you is really hard going.

My best friend has several books out and she never has close people reading in the early days. she recognises it’s a lot of pressure and her books are a piece of art to her, criticism (even if done very nicely) is especially painful from people you love.

I think you are trying to use dh to overcome your mums lack of support. If he really didn’t like it and said, I think you would be crushed. You are hoping he reads it all, thinks it’s amazing to try and block out your mothers attitude towards you. If the person you are closest to now, thinks it’s great, if cancels out the way your mother made you feel.

I used to organise weddings. You complaint about the wedding is a fairly common one. You invite loads of people to an event so do feel obliged to mingle with people. You have 2 people trying to cover everyone. I don’t know many weddings where the couples are side by side all day.

SimonaRazowska · 05/10/2022 07:28

Reading a book written by someone you love is really hard

A much loved family member of mine started writing and asked me to read it. My DH refused as found it too intimate and felt wrong.

It was uncomfortable, but I did it. Found it impossible to give real feedback

Books were published though!

But yeah, it is actually a big ask imo.

rookiemere · 05/10/2022 07:28

Well done on the writing- that's brilliant progress.

But I think your expectations are unrealistic. He read what he was given in a quick time frame and complimented you on it. I'm not sure what else you were expecting.

VestaTilley · 05/10/2022 07:29

Hmm, it’s hard to say without knowing you both.

It could be that you’re over sensitive and anxious (understandably, given your Mother), or it could be that your assertion that your DH doesn’t seem to put you first is true. I’d try and talk to him about it, but if he says he’s not that keen on the book don’t take it personally. Most authors write thousands of pages that never see the light of day - just keep going.

As to not seeing you much on your wedding day - quite normal if you had a big wedding! My DH can be a bit one track minded and emotionally clueless, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Yours may just be like that.

Theeyeballsinthesky · 05/10/2022 07:29

I completely understand why you’re sad OP. You’ve wanted to write for years, you’ve struggled with confidence, you’ve poured everything into it, and it’s hugely important to you.

you hoped DH would understand how important it is to you but his response has been rather “meh it’s ok” rather than recognising your achievement.

from the rest of your post it seems that you always feel second best. Have you spoken to him about how you feel?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross · 05/10/2022 07:30

Ah - I hate reading the writing of people I know and care about though! You’ve put him in a really awkward position, especially if he knows about your mum and the way she behaved. You yourself describe it as ‘a big deal’ to share your sitting with someone else. If he genuinely didn’t like it, how is he meant to say that to you? An ex of mine has had a book published and I really didn’t enjoy it at all but could never say that to him as I know it would hurt - and he’s an ex!

People describing him as selfish, etc - it may be that it wasn’t his cup of tea at all and he now has no idea how to tackle this with you so he’s hoping that he can avoid hurting you with the generic platitudes.

Unless he was actively showing a keen interest in my writing and willingly offering his help as a first reader, I wouldn’t have asked him to play that role. Unfair.

AsAnyFuleKno · 05/10/2022 07:30

This is your first draft, so your expectations need to be adjusted to take that into account if you are getting people to read it at this stage. A first draft is unlikely to bowl people over - it's the editing stage, which you'll get onto next (and which is great fun) where you transform your draft into something that really will impress your readers.

That said, it just might not be your husband's type of book. That doesn't mean it lacks anything - I am sure you can think of bestsellers you personally have been uninterested in.

I agree with the advice to find beta readers who read or write in your specific genre.

Best of luck and a huge well done for getting your project to this stage!

bloodyunicorns · 05/10/2022 07:30

A couple of things. If your h is not usually very kind or interested in what you're doing, look for another audience. Join a supportive writing group or see if you can find a friend who also writes and you can give each other support and praise.

Second, no book is 450k long. (No book by a new, unpublished author anyway.) A book this long suggests that the author hasn't edited enough, or that two - or three - books are merged into one. This will put off readers.

You need to decide what your plans are for your book: self publish or try to find an agent. Who is your intended reader?

Your current extent is probably getting towards the max for a family saga. I'd try to keep it there.

Good luck, and enjoy your writing!

MuddlerInLaw · 05/10/2022 07:34

So … You mentioned that writing is more part of his academic and professional background than yours? There are really only two likely reasons for his apparent lack of interest and both are strengthened by the info you’ve given on him.

Either your book is brilliant and he’s resentful that he hasn’t written anything so ambitious. Or it’s not as good as you hope and he’s trying to let you down gently.

Given that you also say you’re the least important person in your relationship - battling against ‘urgent cup of tea to make’ syndrome whenever you do anything attention worthy - I don’t think it’s hard to guess why he has been so uninterested.

I have known someone like this. First you learn to keep quiet about your successes. Then you begin to avoid success …

Have a think about what you want from life. Are you more likely to achieve your goals with or without your husband?

Notonthestairs · 05/10/2022 07:35

You haven't read a third of a book. 150,000 isnt a third of an average novel. You written a book. Well done 👏

Get an external reader. Someone who's interested in writing and your genre.

"He has always made me feel as if he always has something more important than me going on so I guess it’s just a sore point. There’s always work to be done (he’s very invested in his job), a cup of tea to make it a pot to watch or a task that needs finished. Even on our wedding day I felt I hardly saw him as he was ‘just going to speak to X Y or Z - a couple of people joked on the day that I’d lost my husband as he was always off with someone else."
This is more concerning as you seem to be ill matched.

Chesterfieldfire · 05/10/2022 07:38

He should be supportive of your project and make time to read it! I’m shocked by the other comments on here. I’m an academic writer and my husband always reads drafts of my publications. This to me is a basic way of being a caring, supportive, and engaged partner.

Summerfun54321 · 05/10/2022 07:39

Why are you looking for encouragement and praise from your husband for something you’ve just done once for the very first time? It’s your first ever novel with no formal training or proper professional input or critique. I think you need to face up to the fact your book is probably very average and your husband is just trying to be helpful and polite. If you’re serious about writing, you need to let your guard down and get some proper professional input and get ready for taking criticism constructively. I’d expect praise from my DH when I’d achieved something, not just for trying.

Notonthestairs · 05/10/2022 07:40

Chesterfield- out of interest do you provide 150,000 at a time to your husband?

I never ask DH to read more than 8k. I find I get more detailed feedback that way.

Testina · 05/10/2022 07:41

Does he know about the incident with your mother? If so, you put him in a difficult position, what can he really say?

This is key for me, really:

”He has always made me feel as if he always has something more important than me going”

It’s impossible for us to know whether he just chooses to have a lot on and actually is negligent towards you, or whether you’re someone who likes more attention from a partner than average.

The wedding… that’s just a well-worn conversation isn’t it, kind of a set piece that couples spend most of their time apart, “hosting” guests. Was certainly the case at both my weddings, and I’ve heard it said by so many people, “ooooh, I bet you’ve hardly seen each other!” It’s definitely a thing! That’s what made me wonder about your expectations.

Whether you want to examine if this relationship is right for you is a whole other thread…

But in the meantime, he’s never going to be the right person to critique or even enjoy your book. Be brave, find a writing group! You may find you love it!

And well done on the NC with your mum 👍🏻

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