Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Having Babies vs Writing

I've spent the last week staring at a very swollen, very contrary, very uncomfortable horse waiting on her to decide that it's time for her to disgorge the tiny-tot she's been busy growing the last eleven months. I haven't gotten much written, I've slept about eight good hours in the last hundred and eight, and neither I nor the horse have anything to show for it. But I have come to a few conclusions, the primary of these being that when someone says 'writing a book is like having a baby' they are absolutely correct. I have never had a baby myself, but I've raised my share of babies of the equine kind and really, they aren't all that different from the two legged variety, and all babies are just like books.

You spend months, maybe years, growing your ideas to adulthood, trying to guide them to become the best that they can be, the most well rounded and self-sustaining. And then, just when you deem them perfect, you have to release them to other people, like sending a child to college, letting them out into a world where they'll be subjected to things you never wanted them to face, opinions you never wanted them to hear. And just like a child, you can't protect your book from everything bad, not if you want it to mature so that it can make its own way in the world. And no matter how you've raised your book, you can't stop other people from seeing things in it that you never saw, or never thought you'd see. All you can do is be true to your book, give it all that you can, bless it with a strong voice and strong characters, a gripping story and then stand back and allow it to go its way. Do your best and leave the rest, as the saying goes.

So now I'm going to head back out and stare at the reluctant baby-mama some more as if I could send out a tractor beam from my eyeballs and draw the foal into the world by sheer will power. Once the little thing does make it's appearance, of course, there will be only so much I can teach it before it's grown and I have to let it go its own way and be a horse. Just like I'll have to eventually hand over the stories and books I've spent so long creating to other people, people who hopefully will introduce them to the rest of the world...


  1. I also feel like my stories are my children and I'm very protective of them. Sometimes I feel like people think I'm over reacting when I don't want to share them until I'm ready, but it's hard letting something you created be subjected to others. If only I could get them to understand that.

    Good luck to you and your horse. I hope she has a healthy baby, and soon so you can get some sleep. :)

  2. I am pretty protective of my work as well. There was a time when I very first started writing my primary project when I let all sorts of friends and family read it. I had to stop doing that. It sucks to hear "wow, that sounds a lot like this other book I read." or "I dont really like that character, why dont you do this..." So, yeah, I totally understand. If I ever finish this damn book, I am sure it will be equally painful to start sending it out into the world to be ripped apart.