We’ve all heard it said, and perhaps we’ve all felt it. As authors, the books we write become like our very own children. We love and nurture and dream about them, from the first moment we feel the life spark within us, till the moment we kiss them and kick them out the door, full of fear and hope for the good we hope they do in the world.
I’m at that stage in my current WIP, that near-the-end-of-first-draft stage, which could be alluded to the ninth month of pregnancy. That stage where you’re sick of being overly huge and incapable of doing anything else and all you want to do is scream “Get this thing out of me!”, and yet you also yearn for the not-too-distant moment when you get to hold that first draft in your hands, feel the real, flesh and blood reality of this beautiful thing you’ve created, and imagine the possibilities that the future and some good parenting hold.
I love my babies. I love that newborn smell, the softness, closeness of the experience. And I hate being nine months pregnant.
I’m finding a parallel between that and first drafts. I’m so anxious to finish. I want to be done. I want to move on to revisions and editing. But, like every stage of childhood, each stage of writing has its pros and cons.
Because once this WIP becomes a newborn, and not just an idea floating inside my mind begging to be born, the work and effort and sacrifice does not diminish, it just changes.
There will be poopy diapers (all those dreadful parts that must be cut, because let’s face it, they are poopy diapers).
There will be sleepless nights for feedings (because every stage of creating comes with sleeplessness at some point).
There will be that terrifying moment when you pass that newborn off for someone else to hold, not knowing if their touch (or critique) will be gentle; if their approval will be constructive.
But that newborn manuscript, with love and care and time, will grow and develop and mature.
Like our kids. The ones we write for. The ones we write about. The ones we love, and nag, and sometimes, for just a moment, can’t stand. But ultimately, wouldn't want to live without.
Just like our books.
Know what else? It takes a community to raise a kid. I truly believe it takes a community to write a book. From author, to illustrator, to agent, to editor, to cheerleader, to beta reader, to publisher, to bookstore customer, we cannot do this alone. So reach out – be a friend and find a friend.