Pretty often, upon hearing that I have ambitions of becoming a novelist on top of my academic publishing plans, I get this look. Honestly, I often feel judged, but I've learned not to take it to heart. As far as I can tell, it comes from the fact that writing a book is a lofty ambition. Inevitably, the next word out of the person's mouth is an inquiring, "Why?"
That's a tough question for me to answer right now, but I think it all started back in elementary school. When my teachers realized I liked to read and write, of course they encouraged it, even to the point of picking me for special workshops and such. As a "people pleaser," I totally ate it up. By college, I had largely given up the reading component I previously loved. (Then again, hadn't most of us?!) The love of writing just got stronger, though. Through middle and high school - even parts of college - I thought I was bound to be a poet, actually. Oh yes...first AIM screenname: YoungPoet13. I was totally that girl. Anyway, grad school came around, and with all the academic writing I was doing, poetry no longer seemed good enough. (No, I can't really explain the reasoning there...) A novel, though, was a grand, worthwhile endeavor, so that became my new goal.
Fast forward a year or two to present-day: here I am, post-post grad. Today I do proudly proclaim some published poetry and a couple academic things, but I've still got that lofty ambition of writing a book. I'll do it one day, too. For now, though, I'll practice here.