How writing a novel can be like raising a child.

For the record, I do not want anyone to misconstrue this message. I unequivocally do not think that writing a novel and childbirth, or the rigors of raising said child is one in the same. So, to all the wonderful mothers, fathers and people far greater than myself – can I stop cowering now please?

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks. Whatever that means….

Pregnancy 

So, you have this idea. This all-encompassing, magical, once in a lifetime, shout it from the rooftops idea. It’s so great and whimsical that, it might just be the greatest idea in the history of all the other ones combined. But, it just so happens to be trapped inside your head. You promptly tell your friends you are going to be the next big thing, that “your time” is coming. You can be like Hemmingway, Fitz or Twain, because this idea is big time, and it might, no, it will, be the next best seller.

Congratulations, it’s a novel!

Infancy

After being pregnant with the idea for so long, you finally give birth on to paper. You instill all your hopes, dreams – quite possibly some of your fears into this endless bundle of positive energy. You educate yourself on all the latest meta and read up on all things Stephen King to find the best way to raise your little darling. You read every blog (including mine I hope), every master class, and devour anything and everything you find online. You travel through the panels of the internet. Only to find places you never thought existed. There, you find articles detailing tightening sentence structure, improving the plot, story development and ultimately leaving the reader wanting more by injecting each page with tension and intrigue, all the while giving your protagonist an active voice.

Your book has legs now—figuratively. As you build on the chapters with a clear, almost clairvoyant directive. You have a vision of everything, of seeing your little darling in bright lights on the big screen, of the huge crowds that will surely flock to your book signings, of Stephen King ranting and raving about how perfect your novel was. (Please Steven please!)

Teenage years 

Your delusions of grandeur promptly end here, as your once cute first draft with aspirations of sheer perfection have been dashed, ravaged and then dashed again. Yeah puberty is a bitch, and the hormones have transformed your book into an entirely new entity riddled with zits. And boy is it ugly.

Sure, it still resembles your baby, but with all the piercing edits and tattooed sentences you begin to wonder if all the things you once held dear have fallen by the waist side.

Adulthood (All those days of writer’s block and finding time to write have come to this)

You courageously cast your book into the world, hoping that its inception is not only a positive reflection on you, but that it also has the side effect of curing cancer. No, it didn’t come out exactly as planned and maybe the publishing company changed a few key things you cherished about your creation.

For the first time, you are truly vulnerable to the world, as judgement will now come in the form of adults, teens and everything in between. Will you be the next Stephen King? Or will your novel be a scathing indictment on society as we know it? This is true fear.

No matter how you may feel, your book is now a functioning member of society and its yours, for better or for worse.

Then something amazing happens. You step into the bookstore that you frequent and there it is – shining with all the love and positivity that you fed it when it was a child. Even though the cruel harsh realities of the world have changed it, this creation, this novel is still yours. But now you feel something much more invigorating, stronger than fear or even doubt. Pride.

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