Monday, May 23, 2011

How Writing Is Like Being Pregnant

Okay, so for all you non-preggos out there, getting pregnant is not like swallowing a whole watermelon at once (although giving birth is living pushing one out). There's a little bit more to it than that. Sometimes it's more subtle- for the lucky ones, anyway. It can start off with a twisting sensation one day (or with you hanging your head over the bowl with gut wrenching vommitting- as it was in my case), gradually turning into an ever increasing flutter that thrums through you, eventually to the hard kicking of the babe as it lodges it's foot into your ribs. At that point all you want is to hold that little baby in your arms and have the whole thing over with, because it's exruciating having to wait, and you feel like you're carrying an entire watermelon in your stomach. Then there's the birthing part. It's painful, agonizing, and you want to scream on the top of your lungs for it to just be over with already (side note: epidural's are like a little piece of heaven). Then you finally hold that baby in your arms- the finished product of an unbearabke process, but it fills you with joy that is like nothing else. As you can tell from the title of this post- this  process is a lot like writing. For some it's more gradual, it starts off with a vague desire (for some it's like the vomitting, the words just start heaving out of you), that grows to a burning sensation (women have to pee A LOT while they're pregnant) then it starts to hit you in the gut, driving you, consuming every part of your life (like the baby consumes your body). All you can think about are those characters and what they would do in certain situations you find yourself in. What kind of food is their favorite? Would they enjoy listening to a little bit of 50 cent? By the way- I have never played 50 cent to any of my babies while I was pregnant- although I have been known to enjoy his musical stylings now and then. It's like that baby that keeps kicking you, bruising your insides. Then you go into labor. This is it- you're done baking that bun in the oven. So you start writing your query letter, sending it to any and all agents that sound like they might be a good fit for your metaphorical baby. Now the next part I am familiar with when it comes to birthing, but is one I have yet to experience in my writing career. You did it, you got yourself an agent- someone who loves your characters almost as much as you do, because let's be honest, no one can love your characters as much as you can. The pushing is like revisions. It makes you want to pull your hair out in frustration and scream because you just want it to be over with (again, I've read of other author's experience with this and it sounds like what I'm writing about). Then out comes that perfect little bundle of joy. You sold your book to a publisher and are now holding your book baby in your hands. And you relish that happiness because it's nothing like what you've experienced before. Now- imagine eighteen years have gone by- wow, that was fast! But in the publishing industry your book is finally released. Now comes the really scary part-judgement. You grew and nourished this child of yours, you loved it, gave it your all, and now other people are going to make judgements about you based on the finished product. It's hard not to take it personally, this is your child (book) after all. But at the end of the day, you love it just the same, no matter what anyone says. I can only imagine the joy that authors experience when they've accomplished such a difficult goal- one that the internet claims is near impossible. For me, I would very much like to finish giving birth, I'm tired of being pregnant with my book. It's time for it to go out there in the world and find some fans.

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