Birthing the Novel

Photo(45)So I have been doing more thinking about how publishing a novel is like having a baby. So much so, that I have come up with yet another very apt connection between the two.

I don’t know how many of you have studied or even thought about the phenomenon (it probably has a name, but I’m not looking it up) where as a pregnant woman nears the end of her pregnancy she actually wants to go into labor. It’s really an amazing thing, when you stop to think about it. All along, a woman’s body does the craziest things to grow and nurture a baby. The whole time, she’s also hearing terrible stories about all the worst things that can happen in labor, going through literary and verbal boot-camp for the big day. As the due date approaches, many women are filled with (or at least nagged by) trepidation. How do they get through those last gut-wrenching weeks of anxiety and impending doom and uncertainty? When the joy of the outcome is no longer cutting it?

It’s called being as big as a house and as uncomfortable as a pig on a roof top. Because women continue to get larger, un-wieldy, ridiculous…. they actually start to (again) count down the days until the baby comes! They long for an ending to their discomfort. And to some extent, they even forget just how terrified they were when they were still a svelte  +35 pounds. Desperation leads to motivation. Not un-heard of.

It’s what I call God’s way of getting you there.

Now this principle applies to plenty of other things, and the one at the top of my current list is novel publication. As I approached the end of my editorial process and the gears were moving for actual people to soon get an actual book in their actual hands, I panicked. More than once. I seriously considered pulling the whole thing and slinking into a dark hole where I could stroke the manuscript of my secret novel for a good long time. Like forever. Because actually letting the public look at the thing is terrifying. Not to mention, that when you self-publish, you push all the buttons. When I get the proof, I decide when to tell CreateSpace that I am ready for the print. I call all the shots; all 1000-or-so of them. That not only leaves me many, many hours to think about the whole affair, but it gives me absolute ability to back up, to u-turn, to pull the plug.

Of course, in birth there is no out.

But the point is, by the time you have spent all this time and effort and love and blood and guts on the whole thing, it’s pretty likely you will be desperate to finish it and move on.

Believe me; desperation is all that’s gotten me though some of the latter days.

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