Thursday, 23 August 2012

10 Reasons why writing a book is exactly like bringing up a child

1. Gestation. The period during which your darling is growing inside you. At this point you will have all sorts of wonderful ideas about how it is going to be and what you’re going to do together. The closer you are to giving birth, the more likely you are to sense a growing dread at the labour of love ahead of you. This is perfectly normal.

2. Birth. Give in to the process and get that thing out as quick as possible, even if it’s messy. It is only the beginning after all. You will have years to turn your screaming pile of poop into a half decent specimen, but the longer you delay its entry into the world, the bigger it will be. Nobody wants to give birth to a twenty pounder.

3. During the early days, you may well believe you have given birth to one of the greatest works of art ever to grace the planet. However, sooner or later you will discover just how easy it is to believe that you have produced the spawn of Satan. Do your best to keep things in perspective here.

4. As your work develops, you will start to connect with it in quite unexpected ways. Pleasing grunts give way to nonsense babbling, which gradually begins to make sense. You should feel justly proud, and might even want to show it off. However - don’t expect others to love your work of art quite as much as you do!

5. Small children and untrained manuscripts may at some time develop a fear of strangers; critical strangers especially. Temper tantrums, screaming fits and throwing ones toys from the pram are common reactions to external interference, (otherwise known as feedback).

6. A child needs freedom to explore their character and environment. However, know your boundaries or you risk everything. Nobody likes a child who is out of control.

7. Time apart is important; to wash, cook, tidy the house and remember what real life looks like. It's also important to have some space in which to develop objectivity. When you do spend time together, make an effort to listen, be sensitive to what needs to be done and don’t fight shy of killing any babies who are not pulling their weight. (Not to be taken literally.)

8. Before you know it, your work of art will be ready to leave home. You will feel a bursting sense of pride and delight for this moment you have worked so hard for, for so long. But, you will also experience a touch of empty nest syndrome because without your baby, your life means nothing…

9. And then it will come back; maybe once, maybe twice, or even a dozen times. It may need a little more of your tender loving care; a tweak here or there, and a fresh perspective. But with every new interaction, you are making it stronger and better.

10. One day, it will leave home forever and start a new life without you. Your gift to the world.