Why writing is like Childbirth
A long time ago, I bore three children. Natural childbirth, they called it. No fancy epidural to numb the process—the pain was real. I am not bragging. We were poor, and I was grateful for a hospital, but their torture-reducing options were limited.
Not too long ago, I started writing a book—a memoir. Natural self induced insanity, I'd call it, with no fancy training manual. The discomfort has been equally real. Unlike childbirth, in writing, I'm grateful I can control the narrative. When the aches come, I stop them. Do a different task... go to bed. I decide what day, month, or year I will finish the manuscript, yet, if I don't push through the pain, I will never give birth to it.
"unless it is written brilliantly... this probably won't work.
I've joined a few local and online writing groups, and soon I'll be on my way to my first writer's conference. From one of my most recent critiques, which was anonymous, someone wrote, "Memoirs tend to be very much about you, and unless it is written brilliantly, you are famous, and/or the story is something extraordinary, this (referring to one of my entries) probably won't work."
I'm not famous. My life isn't extraordinary. And I am not a published author, yet. But I have a story to tell. It matters not who reads it—it matters that it's written. If I wait for brilliance, I'll never write. And so I'll plug along.
I've always known I'd write a book some day, but I never imagined how difficult it would be. I'll be honest. I'm struggling. It's been six months since I first put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard, and my first three chapter drafts are painfully ugly.
I'll be honest. I'm struggling.
Most days, my brain gets fatigued, and my confidence wanes. God only knows how long I'll be pregnant with this book. Yet, I'll admit, the stories that are conceiving deep inside of me fill me with awe, regardless of how terrible the writing is.
Why am I writing? I have grandkids now, and one of my daughters is pregnant with our fourth. A part of their history is my story. If untold, how will they know it? What a tragedy that would be.
While preserving some of my family's legacy, writing also allows me to open the glued pages of my past: a white child growing up in Africa, having black sisters, and a personal tragedy that altered my life plans.
With every passing day, my anticipation grows. I imagine what it will be like once this book baby is finally birthed.
I'd like to invite you to join me in my journey. Write your own story—to anchor and mold the next generations in your family.
If this post has inspired you to write, or you're also struggling with the process, I'd love to hear from you.