Not long ago, I realized it takes me nine months to finish a book. That thought led me to ponder the similarities between writing a book and delivering a baby, both products of labor. The two projects have much in common.
1. Uncertainty. Mad, crazy excitement followed by stomach-churning nausea. Am I crazy? What was I thinking? Oh, right, I wasn't thinking. Maybe now isn't the right time. Names, I need names . . . stat! What? I have to do this for nine whole months? Can I change my mind?
2. Acceptance. You started this journey, sweetheart, and you're not a quitter so get a grip and stop complaining. The body of words begins to grow and expand along with the waistline. Sometime during this phase, the book (and the baby) become real to you. You visualize cradling the product of your labor in your hands and murmuring, "Look at you, you're beautiful!"
3. Self Doubt. Miserable and impatient, we waddle toward the finish line. The end is in sight but it's so dang hard to get there. What if something's wrong? I took my vitamins every day. I built my plot scene by scene, chapter by chapter. I did my best every single day for nine months,but that's no guarantee everything will turn out okay. Dammit, I want a guarantee!
4. Unbridled Joy. You did it! Both baby and book are done . . . well, sort of done. Revel in the moment! Feel the pride of accomplishment. Admire your handiwork. Share the news.
5. Trepidation. After the elation fades away, we look squarely into the future and realize what lies ahead. It's taken nine months to grow and deliver our unique creation and we want everyone to love it as much as we do. In the book world, it's called querying, submitting and dealing with rejection. In the family circle, it's called rearing a child to be a productive member of society. An unbidden thought flits in and out of our consciousness. OMG, what if the book (baby) turns out to be a stinker?
It's back to the drawing board. We're not quitters. We will revise our books to the best of our ability. We will never give up on our children. We will persevere.