Monday, August 26, 2013

Birth Pains: Breathe, One, Two, Three, Breathe, One, Two, Three

I've often heard that writing a book is like giving birth to a child.

I guess I kind of shrugged off the analogy, never really taking it seriously. Until I actually wrote a couple of books.

When I first sat down to write Broken Crowns, it was fun! Every day, I was filled with the excitement of the story within. A few paragraphs here, a few edits there, imagination on the page--how exciting! I told some friends, basking in the warmth of their congratulations. Everyone was excited for me; most wanted to know the due date. 

A few weeks into it, morning sickness hit. I spent hours, sometimes days, stumped on a plot hole, feeling almost ill as I tried this way and that way and the other way to navigate around it. I lost sleep, lying awake at three in the morning as I tried to work out the kinks of my uncooperative story.

As the ideas finally came together, so did the writing. I fell into a rhythm--second trimester energy! I'd write every day. I had a plan, and the plan flowed almost effortlessly onto the paper. The manuscript gained weight and meat. The end was in sight!

Then, the due date. The manuscript was almost done. Just the last few pages, ramping up to a climactic ending. I couldn't do it. Breathe, just breathe, I'd instruct myself. The strenuous pain of pushing out those last few ideas was so. stinkin'. hard. "Come on, honey," my husband coached. "You can do this. I believe in you!"

Transition arrived. My mind started going crazy; the words started flowing, I couldn't have stopped even if I had wanted to--there was just too much. One hour, two hours, three hours. I wiped the sweat; exhaustion began to set in.

And then it was done. My beautiful, little book. My perfect creation. Sure, it had flaws, but can you ever tell a new mother about the flaws in her baby? Nope.  Page after page of imaginative story, the product of months of planning and hoping and dreaming and exertion and pain and energy.

So now you know why I cry when those inevitable two-star reviews come in on Amazon. I've sent my baby out, and many people will tell me what a beautiful child I'm raising, how they've enjoyed getting to know my child, and I puff up to bursting with pride in my lovely little one. But there are the inevitable nay-sayers that will tell me the things I have done wrong, how I should fix those things that I haven't got right.

So for the tears, can you blame me? For my pride in my work, can you blame me for that either? ;)

Pretty Little Maids was an easier process, as a second child often is. I'd been through the routine, I had it down. But morning sickness still hit. Those silly plot holes still plagued me. When I hit transition, I still sweated and labored and lost sleep as I worked myself to exhaustion to get those last few pages out. But then, it was done. Pretty Little Maids weighed a little less than Broken Crowns--it was almost 20,000 words shorter. But I couldn't compare the two--they were both beautiful in their own unique ways, both representing months of hard work and love of writing.

The due date is almost here for my third child; I'm nervous and excited as I look forward to the moment of truth. It's going to be hard, but I'm resting up for the exertion before the reward that I know is going to come.

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