Writing is Like Parenting

As I approach the final pages of Fallen, I want to admit I've learned a lot from writing this book.  My biggest realization: writing is like parenting. 
It's a well known fact that authors think of their books as their babies.  I've even seen authors announce the completion of a book as though it were a birth announcement.  "My Super Awesome Novel was born at 5:28 P.M., coming in at 150 pages and 60,000 words.  Mom is tired, but doing well."  Yeah, I'm not joking.  But much like birth, your job is not really done after pushing that baby out into the world.  Quite the opposite.  Your journey has just begun.  I liken writing a book to raising a child.  I have two.  Kids, I mean.  I also have two books out, coincidentally (see Moonlight & The Subtle Beauty to the right).  You dream of your kid being one way, of all that they're going to achieve, only to realize that they are going to be their own person, with their own goals and nuances.  Fallen was a particularly troubling "child".  I wanted a dark, dramatic fantasy about the downfall of Sylas Mortas.  Do you know what I got instead?  The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.  I fought it for a long time.  It was painful.  Words were a tooth and nail struggle. There were tears shed and unkind words said.  Incidentally, I'm over a month behind.  I wanted to be finished early in April so I could spend the month editing and release it May 1.  Here I am still writing it (staring at the last four chapters and unsure how long each will be.  I've still got a lot of ground to cover.)  I was really frustrated that it was not the book I wanted it to be.  It was going in the wrong direction.  We were butting heads.  It was behaving exactly as my oldest child has lately.  She's been having behavioral issues in school, and it was a nightmare to try to get her homework done.  Long story short, do you know what the answer was? 
Also, more love.  A major change of attitude toward my child.
But the biggest part was to just stop fighting.  Approach everything in a different direction.  Do you know what happened?  A miracle. 
When I stopped fighting my oldest child and approaching her with a different, more positive attitude, it's like we "clicked".  It worked so well, in fact, that I got an email from her teacher last night.  My daughter is one of the only kids in her class that doesn't have any homework to catch up on the rest of the school year.  Everyone else is getting packets of work.  We went from taking days to complete one sheet to cranking out 4-6 a day all because I changed MY attitude and found ways to avoid fighting. 
Fallen was exactly the same.  Once I changed my attitude toward the book and realized it was going to be the story it wanted to be and not what I wanted, everything started falling into place.  Where I had struggled to find my usual, easy, poetic voice for 7 chapters, it suddenly came when I let the book be whacky.
All you can really do is point the book (or your child) toward the plot points and let them hit them in the way they need to.  Don't force it.  Don't fight it.  Let it be the spirit it's going to be. 

Whenever I have a negative attitude, I think of something my chiropractor said to me: 
"Change your story."

Try to find the positive in the situation.  You don't have writer's block.  You're simply approaching the problem from the wrong angle.  Stay positive.  Keep thinking of ways to avoid the fight, and then tackle the work. 

May the Muse be with You!

posted under |


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

Translate Blog

Follow by Email

    Email Ann!


    Email *

    Message *

Recent Comments