We all love babies, don’t we? And the anticipation of their arrival…
Two weeks ago, we had my daughter-in-law’s baby shower. It was wonderful and I was able to hand over the myriads of pink and frilly clothes I’d been buying for months…from the day after we found out that we’d be blessed with our first granddaughter (our third grandchild).
Last week, I was pondering the recent baby shower, Amy’s pregnancy, and my current work in progress, and I couldn’t help but recognize the similarities between carrying a baby, and working on a book baby.
First there’s the conception. Well, we all know how that happens in human terms, but for writers, it’s that moment when a story idea enters their mind and begins to grow. Kinda like a little book embryo. And as we plot and write, a sense of excitement wells within us as we eagerly watch our word count increase—much like a soon-to-be mommy rejoices over each milestone of her pregnancy.
Although in excellent health—both mommy and baby—Amy has had quite a pregnancy. She’s been suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG for short. For anyone who doesn’t know what HG is, it’s a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration. I myself hadn’t heard of it until one of my fellow South African authors, Lucy Nel, posted about her struggles with HG in both her pregnancies. Amy had landed in the hospital twice in the first few weeks of her pregnancy, and even at 32 weeks, she’s still suffering from bouts of nausea. It’s been a little better over the past few weeks, but often she just feels ill when dinner is served (and no, my cooking isn’t that bad LOL). In fact, she lost 10kg during her pregnancy and has only picked up three of those lost kilograms. While it sounds wonderful losing weight during pregnancy, I’m quite sure Amy would rather not have had continuous morning sickness.
Amy’s struggle with HG and my current WIP reminded me that writer’s also suffer during the days, weeks, and months before a book is born. After all, writer’s block is an illness, isn’t it? And let’s not mention the curve balls life throws at authors, keeping them from making progress on their book babies. Just this weekend, for instance, my mother-in-law suffered a mild heart attack and is in cardiac ICU, on Friday my son arrives from Cape Town, and next week I’ll be away visiting my brother at the coast so lots of time out of writing on a book I’m already behind in. All these kinds of things—pleasant and unpleasant—eat away at the author’s productivity.
And then, as the due date draws near, there’s the baby shower—a time of celebration when everyone starts to get really excited about the birth. It’s almost time for the baby to be born. It’s also the day the new mommy gets to see what her baby will wear in the months to come. Pretty much like a cover reveal on a new book. Speaking of, here’s my new book baby’s cover (you’re the first to see it!)
Just as baby showers are thrown for expectant mothers, some authors do book launches with all the bells and whistles. My friend, Shirley Corder, did one this past Saturday for her new non-fiction release, God in Africa. Which reminds me, ten authors with ties to Africa (fiction and non-fiction) are throwing their own Facebook party at the end of the month to celebrate books set in Africa. We’d love you to join us on our Africa Book Safari. If you’re unable to join on that hyperlink, please let me know and I’ll invite you.
Of course, all celebrations, be it weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, or book launches, start with an invitation and then a whole lot of preparation.
Often mothers struggle with a fear of loving a new baby. I know I did with my second pregnancy. I kept thinking, “How am I going to love another child as much as I love the one I have?” Thankfully, God has given us an incredible capacity to love, and I fell in love all over again the moment my second child was born.
I’m certain many writers struggle with this “love” problem too. I do. Sad to let characters go to start a new book. Can I love this hero or heroine as much as I did the previous one? Once again, this capacity to love comes into play, and we quickly learn to adore our new heroes and heroines as much as we did the previous ones.
Finally, birthing a baby comes with a lot of pain, sweat, and tears. Labor definitely is the correct word for bringing a child into the world. The same can be said for birthing a book. There’s a lot of pain, sweat, and very often tears that go into the words a writer pens. And yes, a LOT of hard work—labor—to get those words down and the story written. But oh, what a feeling when you hold that newborn [book]baby in your hands! I’ll be honest, not quite like holding a child or grandchild, but still a pretty good feeling. And like a new mother, you’re left wondering what mark your “baby” will leave on this world.
PS. My next book baby, Accept Me (Book 7 in the Chapel Cove Romances), will release in December…sometime.