Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing as Responsibility

I was thinking yesterday in the shower (don't judge me, I do my best thinking in the shower) how similar the process of writing is to the process of pregnancy and childbirth.

Writers don't just write stories, they conceive them in love, build and shape them in hiding for them for a long time, then when they're ready to stand alone, we share them with the world.

Having gone through the miracle of childbirth three times and birthing a complete novel once (I'm currently gestating my second). I believe there is a sense of responsilibity that comes with the territory.

If you're contracted or published, then the responsibilities are obvious: work with an editor, meet your deadlines, keep up your blog, do signings, market your book properly, be a professional, etc.

If you are like me, you keep having a nearly peripheral dream where you see your name on bookshelves, a dream that disappears if you look at it too hard. However, I still have a responsilibity to my characters, to myself, to my future (gulp!) readers. More important than all of those, I have a very young family, and a very supportive husband. I don't exactly have a responsibility to be successful, but I do have to write the best book I can to acknowledge their sacrifice of time and attention that goes hand-in-hand with large-scale writing projects. If I don't work hard, if I give up, if it's all for nothing, I will have let them down much more than my imaginary characters and imaginary readers.

I had a great night of writing last night, but struggled most of last week. This too is like pregnancy - some days the baby is kicking and you're so excited to see what you're creating, and others you're so tired, sick, and worn out that you're not sure you can make it for one more day.

Like pregnancy, this feeling (at least for me) gets stronger the closer you get to the end of the process.

Just remember, it's worth it.
Remember that not everyone has felt the blessing of an amazing night of writing, nothing can compare to it, except a great ultrasound.
Just remember, writing what you want is a priviledge, writing it diligently the best way you know how is a responsibility.


  1. No judging here. I do my best thinking in the shower too.
    Very interesting post.

  2. I love how you say writing the best way we know how is a responsibility. Years ago when I started writing, it was for fun. I still enjoy writing now, but there's so much more that goes into it. I want the best book possible to come forth and I take it seriously to do so. Studying the craft, engaging my critique partners--learning as much as I can to make my story as good as I can make it. And it's all worth it :)

  3. Thank you all for your comments!

    It's funny how I thought that writing was such a solitary, personal pursuit...little did I know that it's better when you share the pains and pleasures!