On Writing and Pregnancy

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Part 1: Confessions of a Literary Midperson

“My book has just come out!”

The exuberance and relief that often marks this particular life milestone is similar from what many mothers exclaim when they deliver birth to a child. And why not? After all, there are a lot of commonalities between giving birth to a baby and giving birth to a book.

Just as there distinct stages of pregnancy, there are also similar milestones in writing a book.

Stage 1: Expectation. This is characterized by hope and excitement as the decision is finally made to write that book. Authorship is like parenthood; many, many want to do it but they’re just not sure when they’ll get around to it. But now the decision has been made! The commitment is there. The future has been cast. The possibilities are endless. Best seller! Author awards! Talk shows!

Stage 2: Reality. This is when reality sets in. This is going to be a long process. It can be painful. Your sleep is disturbed. You’re up earlier and awake longer as you struggle to move forward. Doubt, even nausea, might even creep in. About 60% of your time seems to be spent struggling to come up with the right acronym for your process. And time seems to stand still.

“I’ve only been working on this thing for four months?!!! Seems like a lifetime. How am I ever going to get through the next seven months?”

As you see, cognition can be impaired, too, as you are disarmingly distracted by the task at hard.

Stage 3: End Run. Time is almost Einsteiningly stationary but the end is in sight. A combination of doubt and expectancy mingle seamlessly every day. But as the end nears, the doubt subsides and the joy of creation and possibilities take over. You even have a delivery date!

Stage 4: Delivery. It’s time to launch. As your loved ones huddle around, you are ready to bare your soul in the ultimate act of exposure. You know that life will never be the same. Then, at last! Total joy as you have the product in your hands. It looks so beautiful! It is part of you and that can never be taken away — whether you like it or not. Blissfully, you drift off to sleep in a lightened state, exhausted but relieved that the process is over. Except, of course, it isn’t over. It’s only just beginning.

Stage 5: After Delivery. This is when the distressing reality hits you that now you need to work even harder to make your new baby popular. This will take months, if not years. Surprisingly, many people have been so busy in gestation that they haven’t thought too much about raising their child.

So, there you have it, EREDAD; Expectancy, Reality, End, Delivery, After Delivery. (As in “ere dad, you take your baby and feed her, I’m exhausted.”)

As a ghostwriter and writing coach I see myself as the literary midperson. I am literally helping my authors give birth. Some of them actually are so busy that they give me the labor pains of pregnancy but I’m ok with being a surrogate mom. But that psychology background sure comes in handy when helping my clients through the various stages of pregnancy.

And then preparing them for what comes next.

Coming soon. Part 2: Parenting. The really hard part.