You’re a write eejit when you treat your manuscript like your baby.
I’m not the overly sentimental type—or at least I do a good job of hiding it. I wasn’t the one blubbing like a baby at “Mary Poppins” (not looking at anyone in particular, man-mate!) But I confess, when I put my youngest on the bus to kindergarten for the first time, I did feel that mother-child bond stretch out like an over-zealous rubber band, and it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. That wee one that had been clamped to my hip and shin for five years, had just blown me a kiss from the other side of the road and hopped merrily on the bus without a backward glance.
Okay, okay, I hear you groan—not another Mommy blog. Well, yes, but just this once, and only to make my point. (I’m not above exploiting my kids.)
So it’s with trepidation that I prepare to send premier child off to college. What if I didn’t get it right? What if I read all the wrong child-rearing books? (Actually, I don’t think I read any.) But what if I didn’t feed her enough kale or Vitamin D. Maybe I shouldn’t have had her vaccinated, and maybe all those fluoride treatments were a mistake. I didn’t teach her to ride a bike. I didn’t talk enough about sex, or maybe I said too much. I showed, but didn’t tell. Maybe I suffocated her character—didn’t let it evolve naturally. Should I have insisted she not swear so much?
And then I pull myself up short, because I’m being as neurotic about my parenting of my daughter as I am of my books. Can you parent a book? I hear you ask. Yes, most definitely, yes!
You have sleepless nights while it’s in the newborn phase—lying awake for hours wondering if you’re doing it right. You can’t imagine how your baby can ever grow up and demand less of your attention. And then slowly you hit your stride. Sometime you’re cruising along taking every corner like a pro. Other times you’re flailing around like a one-legged roller skater. Sometimes you get to the stage where you just want to throw up your hands and yell, “I quit!” But you can’t. You’re in it for the long haul. And then there are those few and far between days when every, just every little thing, is bloody brilliant.
And as with parenting a child, there comes a time when you have to push that offspring out of the nest. No more editing, looking for stray commas, dangling modifiers. You’ve given it a good talking to and told it to do its best, and never go home with a guy who’s weirder than its brother, and . . . It’s all about giving it wings and letting it fly.
I did not blubber like a baby. I shed a few manly tears.
No need to worry. You’ve done a stellar
job raising your kids!
I’ve been around enough kids and taught children long enough to connect to this post as much as is possible without actually having children of my own. And, sigh, how I hate the stage of “parenting” I am in right now with my story. I would say I’ve been trudging through those awful years called ADOLESCENCE where my story just won’t do what I want it to do! Every time I think I’m write it yells “I hate you” to me and runs and hides in the black abyss of my computer refusing to reemerge for weeks on end. But, I guess all kids grow up and sooner than later grow out of that stage. So, I’ll have to just keep powering through and moving forward hoping that sooner or later my book, too, will grown up!
Thanks for the insightful posting. You have shed new hope on this stage of my writing and for that….so grateful!!!
Great newsletter! Thanks for sharing.
I totally agree. Mothering of children, grandchildren and all writers’ stories is just a way of life. I love it! And when it’s time for them to leave the nest I find it exciting because I know we won’t truly part company. As yet that hasn’t happened with a story, but I’m working on it.