Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pregnant These Past Twenty Years

I read a book of poetry a few years back entitled, “Pregnant These Past Twenty Years”. It was a self-published book written by Heather Archibald, a fellow Kittitian who happened to be the sister of a friend that I consider a brother. Ten years ago when I received the book, I wondered why that title? Was it in reference to her physical appearance or was it something deeper.

It’s only since trying to develop what was a hobby into a potential career that I’ve come to fully appreciate the title. A year ago I published my first novel. With it came not only legitimacy to my writing and a possibility of a career as an author, but also the expectation that I would publish more. Since then I have a certain urgency to publish my other work, so of course I have a WIP.

Well I’ve been working on my WIP since the beginning of this year. Unlike authors whose primary career is being an author, I have a day job. Add to that a husband, a seven-year-old, a two-year-old, and a nine-month-old, and there is little time for writing. Yes I have made lots of vows to write at least a few pages each night, but many times I cannot even get one sentence written. So of course my WIP is taking long to complete despite having it totally written in my mind. The problem is, until I can key it into the computer, that’s where it stays... in my mind.

I can’t wait to finish the story. I can’t wait to type that last paragraph, that last sentence, that last word. Many authors, even on this blog, have compared writing a novel to giving birth. Well with this WIP I feel like I’m pregnant. I feel like I’m in the last trimester, my belly is hanging ready to drop, my feet are swollen and I am just anxiously waiting for those contractions to start. I can hardly wait to meet my new baby (the completed manuscript). But of course I have to wait and patiently finish the manuscript. Just as premature babies are not usually fully developed so is a premature manuscript.

Now, I finally understand what Heather meant by the title “
Pregnant These Last Twenty Years.”

So how do you deal with anxiety to reach to the end of your WIP?


G said...

I don't think I've suffered from anxiety in getting my latest WiP completed.

I think most of my anxiety has been centered around trying to find the few hours of quiet time each weekend to work on it.

I look it at this way: they'll get done when they get done. So long as I keep chipping away at it, it will get done.

Phyllis Bourne said...

LOL! I totally get the title.

I'm a s-l-o-w writer. While I've never been pregnant, each book makes me feel like I've been knocked up for two decades!

Charles Gramlich said...

Having been writing for quite a while, I immediately knew what the title meant. I can sympathize. And I sympathize with your plight for sure. I didn't have 3 kids, but one little one, an ill wife, being chair of my department at Xavier, those things combined for several years to bring my writing almost to a standstill.

Jewel Amethyst said...

G, I'm still working on that quiet time.

LOL Phyllis, I know the feeling.

Charles, your job definitely sounds demanding. I need to take a page from your book when it comes to making time to write.

Farrah Rochon said...

Even as a relatively fast writer, I can relate. Simply because I have sooo many stories in my head that I want to get out. And as soon as I get one out, in pops another story that's clamoring to be told.

Good luck finishing the WIP!

Liane Spicer said...

Jewel, I can give you some time lines that'll make your eyes pop. Novel #1, for example, took 11 years to journey from first draft to publication. There were entire years when too much was going on in my life to allow me to even glance at it. I know about interminable pregnancies!

If you find a way to deal with that anxiety of which you speak, be sure to let me know!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Farrah. Like you I have many stories running in my head. Problem is, that's usually where they remain.

11 years! Liane that makes my writing pregnancies feel really short. It's comforting to know that this is not unique to me. I'm hoping someone would give us the tips to deal with the writing anxiety.