Honey, I’m Expecting a Novel

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ImageAs I’m working through the phases of writing my first novel, it occurred to me that it is much like pregnancy. Having given birth to 5 children of my own, I would know.

When you first take that giant step and commit to writing a novel (you know, the stick is positive), it’s both exciting and frightening at the same time. Your thoughts vacillate between the anticipation of seeing that little bundle for the first time and the fears that it will be born with flaws and you will fail as its creator.

If you’re like me, and only a writing hobbyist, then that first trimester of novel writing can make you quite ill at times. As you can see just by scrolling through the last few blogs I’ve posted, I’m nowhere near a consistent writer. Up until now I’ve only posted blogs about this and that whenever the urge strikes me, sometimes going months between any sort of writing at all. But those of you who have been pregnant (sorry to leave you out, guys) know that once the stick turns blue there’s no turning back. You are committed…or at least you should be. Writing a novel takes sheer will and determination if you’re going to complete it. You’re forced to endure the morning sickness while you adjust to carrying this new baby with you each day. Finding Making time to write every day can be painful if you’re not used to it.

ImageOnce you finally clear that first trimester, you enter the honeymoon phase of your pregnancy. Those are the months that the illness subsides and you begin to actually enjoy what you’re doing. You have your first ultrasound and think, “Wow, I’m creating that?” The writing, for me anyway, comes easier because your skills are improving and you haven’t let the creative juices become stagnant. If any of you are new to writing, like I am, I would highly suggest you read What to Expect When You’re Expecting…oh, no wait, sorry wrong book, On Writing by Stephen King. When I picked it up I originally thought I would skip the first half of the book where King gives you a short biography of his life. I wanted to get right to the meat of the book and learn exactly how to go through this birthing process. But I resisted the urge and you should as well. Reading King’s background was actually quite fascinating. You get a glimpse into what influences a successful writer.

Another book that is required reading is Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Even if you plan on using an editor, this book has excellent tips on characterization, point of view, dialogue, beats, etc. My writing has improved immensely by using the lessons I’ve learned from this book.

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I am just about to enter my third trimester of this process. Each time I think I’ve almost reached my conclusion, the contractions settle and I realize I still have more story to tell. Although the labor is still months away for me, I’ve reached the phase of my novel pregnancy that every mother who’s given birth has experienced. I just want to hold it in my hands, smell the freshly printed pages and share it with the world. Even if the world rejects it, it’s my baby and I will cherish it forever.

 For now I’m getting myself mentally prepared for labor. I know the re-writing and editing will be difficult and grueling at times, but I look forward to it with great expectation. With hard work comes great reward.

So for those of you who have writing in your blood and might be considering parenting a novel of your own, I say go for it! Don’t let excuses cause you to postpone what could be one of your greatest joys. For me it’s not the success my novel will or won’t bring, it’s the satisfaction of pursuing something I love and seeing it through, with no epidural. I’m going to enjoy every painful, wonderful moment.

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10 responses »

  1. So eerie! I just wrote a post on this same subject, how writing a book is like having and raising a child. We must be picking up on a way to shift perspective about creativity. I loved this post too, very well said!

  2. Pingback: My Daughter’s Expecting | Chiriquí Chatter

  3. Oh my gosh! I saw your dad’s post on Facebook and thought you were really expecting!! I Knew you were crazy but not that crazy!!

  4. I am only in my first trimester. I have written a few stories and plan to hook them together in some kind of plot. The whole thing would be a story of my life. I have been a nuclear power mechanical operator, a teacher, a merchant marine engineer, and of course a world traveler. I would like to become a writer of sorts. i would love to meet my grandchildren. Thank you for your analogy although my sons were made by their mom and I and I was always gone out to sea when they arrived.

  5. HI Ross. Wow, you certainly have a vast array of experience to draw your stories from! Are you considering a sort of biography, or a work of fiction based on your real life experiences? Do you have a blog? I’d be interested in reading some of your work. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your writing!

  6. Pingback: Hyperlinks | Chiriquí Chatter

  7. Pingback: From the Warped Minds of My Passed on Genes | Chiriquí Chatter

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