At each birthday celebration, we pull the honored child's baby book off the shelf, snuggle together on the couch, and look back at all of the adorable snap shots from when they were babies. My daughters and I simultaneously squeal "Awww, how cute" at every turn of the page. And my sons grunt and poke fun at each other for looking so dorky.
Lingering over the pictures brings back so many memories, especially memories of carrying each of my babies in my womb. Pregnancy was never an easy feat for me. In fact, it was downright difficult. Not only did I experience nausea and fatigue during my first trimesters, but I also dealt with the constant worry of miscarriage (I had three) as well as premature labor (my twins were born at 31 weeks).
When I think of pregnancy and the many months we wait for a baby to arrive, I can't help comparing it to the writing process. Our stories are conceived deep inside of us. As they begin to form into something alive and wonderful, we're filled with awe at the new life.
When the tiny cells of the story get bigger, we realize the book is taking more time and energy than we expected. We may drop into bed at night, our brains fatigued beyond creative capacity, our eyes blurry, our heads whirling.
And yet we gaze lovingly at our ever-expanding word counts, anticipating each spurt of growth, excited about what is taking shape. Some days our emotions are especially high and we're positive we're producing the best story ever written. And then there are times when each new sentence makes us cry out in frustration and despair.
With every passing day, our anticipation grows. We begin to imagine what life will be like once our babies are finally birthed and we become published authors. We dream big, make plans for our future success, and know that our lives will change for the better once we cross the threshold into authorhood.
Finally, our books near completion. The last chapters of the novel bring us discomfort and pain as we struggle to finish our stories with logical and satisfying conclusions. And yet no amount of heartburn or indigestion can take away from our excitement. Those babies we've nurtured for months and months are nearly ready to be thrust into the world.
Then we're awakened to sharp, painful contractions and suddenly we remember we must go through labor. . . incredibly painful labor! Join in on Wednesday as we discuss how finding an agent/editor is like labor.
For today, however, let's remember to savor the precious time with have with those developing babies. Each growing word, each phase of the creation of our books is truly a moment of wonder. Often we can get so focused on completing our books or finishing the editing, that we lose out on the joy and beauty of writing.
Do you allow yourself to cherish the writing phase of your book? Or do you find that too often you focus on the harships of the present or worries of the future?