Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing is Like Child Rearing (a Meme)

"Mommy says I'm going to be a best seller"

How long did it take for you to conceive your novel?  I'm not just talking about developing the concept and making the final decision to hammer it out; I'm talking about real conception.  You know, that moment your novel was born; the moment all the dirty details were ironed out. Your characters had names and personalities; they loved, hated and mourned with a vengeance. 

When you think about it, writing a novel shares similarities to child rearing--just hear me out on this before you start the eye-rolling and spouting the "whatevers".  As with child rearing, it all begins with conception <insert bowchickabowwows here>.  A novel is conceived in the throws of a passionate outline--or from the recesses of your mind if your one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of writers.  After the seed has been planted, it begins to spring to life, developing appendages, a heartbeat and a mind of its own.  Slowly, your brain child grows.  With each chapter it picks up steam, gaining momentum until, months later--after much discomfort, agony, and late night ice cream runs--your first draft is born.

But as every parent to a novel knows, the fun is just getting started.  Now it's time to raise your novel.  You must change it, cleansing it of any unnecessary adjectives, dialogue and paragraphs. It requires nourishment, attention and every last ounce of  your soul if it's going to succeed in the real world.  At times, it may seem like the process will never end especially when your characters begin to throw tantrums and won't do as their told.  You scold them but they still won't listen. Instead, they choose to rebel, effectively skewing the life you've plotted out for them. Try as you might, you can't make them happy. Their insolence angers you and, even though you threaten to ground them for life or erase them from existence completely, at the end of the day, you know your life just isn't complete without them.

Then, seemingly overnight, something miraculous comes together. You're able to communicate with each other.  It's as though you've reached a mutual understanding and share the same goals. Gone are the frustrations, the screaming matches. You are now one proud parent.   

At last, your novel has matured and is ready to be leave your care. 

Unfortunately, despite doing all you can to ready them, there's still a chance your literary children will face the cold, sharp sting of rejection.  When they do, their critic's harsh words will inherently hurt you even more than them, instantly putting you on the defensive.  However, in the event they take flight and sprout the wings you always knew existed, they'll create a legacy for you that will last a lifetime.

Therefore, writing is like child rearing in my book.


The always sweeter than pie, perpetually amazing Sophie Li of The Wordsmith Apprentice tagged me in this fantabulous game of 'Meme'.  The irony of this is that I'd already planned on doing a blog post dedicated to the birth of a novel.  So this tag came at exactly the right time.  I guess great minds really do think alike.  ;-) As in all games--except the tail end of drinking games, that is--there are rules.  According to the rules of Meme, I now have to pass on this brain teaser and tag three fellow bloggers.

The goal is to come up with your own metaphor defining what "Writing is like ... ?"

"like a box of chocolates"
"like climbing a mountain"
"like a slow, painful death"...etc

Drum roll please...

The winners of this tag are:
Melanie McCullough of the wonderful blog A New Kind of Ordinary, Kendra Kilbourn of the outstanding blog The Ranting Writer, and Katie Dodge of the fabulous blog Katie on Fiction.  Each of these lovely ladies are aspiring authors with immense talent.  Check them out!  I can't wait to read your Memes ladies!     



Shakespeare said...

I use this metaphor often. Each novel or play is a child, incubated and developed through loving care, patience, and constant monitoring.

Great blog!

Sophie Li said...

Ah-Ha! I read your mind and boy did you hit it with this metaphor.

I think this is why its challenging to receive critique as a writer because its only natural to believe that our ms are already perfect, as parents do with their flesh & blood children.

I also like the idea that each 'child' has its own voice and its up to us to sort of nurture that into maturity.

Sara Furlong-Burr said...

Shakespeare--Thank you for stopping by and for the sweet comment! I'm a new blog follower of yours ;-)

Sophie--Thank you again for tagging me. This was fun!