120 days...But Who's Counting?
There are people who will tell you that drawing analogies between publishing a book and giving birth to a baby are cliche. Over-done. A narrative with which we writers should quickly dispense, so as to uncover fresher, more inventive way of articulating the joys and pains of our work. And, there are other people who will tell those people to stick a sock in it, because growing and birthing babies, and writing and publishing books are pretty much the exact same thing. The only real difference being the degree of blood, wailing, and unexpected poop.
Friends, of those two types of people, I am the latter.
I've been pregnant and given birth twice - the first time being a two-for-one early bird special - and while I might not have been the most miserable pregnant woman on the planet, I was far from a glowing orb of prenatal delight. Truth be told, I was a wreck. I gained 80 pounds each time, despite tremendous dietary caution. My feet splayed out a full size and a half wider. Fetal limbs would get lodged under my rib cage, and I got headbutted in the bladder several times daily. Drinking vinegar was the only thing that quelled the heartburn, and I had to do a 48-point turn to roll over in bed. And that's just the physical wringer I found myself going through. Mentally and emotionally, pregnancy brought forth every single one of my known neuroses, and gave rise to some brand-spanking new ones. My fears and anxieties ranged from the trivial (Dear God, please don't let my baby share a birthday with Britney Spears) to the terrifying (Dear God, please don't let any of us die in childbirth. Or before. Or after. Or at all.) It was exhausting. But also strangely exhilarating. I was more unsure and vulnerable than I'd ever been in my life, but also more aligned with my own strength and creative power than I ever could have imagined.
And that's where I am right now, 120 days out from the publication date of my debut novel, CROW. The third trimester, where shit starts to get real. But not real real. More like agitated, impatient, imagining-twenty-million-different-ways-this-could-go kind of real. Unlike my human babies, my book baby has a fixed date on which it will officially be born. March 26th, 2019. My book will be an Aries, with a Sagittarius moon, and Scorpio rising. (Meet my new favourite neurosis: calculating astrology charts for inanimate objects just in case they give me some kind of insight into...I dunno, something.) There's lots to do in preparation for my book's arrival, but right now, I don't have a sweet clue what those things actually are. Buy some half decent dressy-looking shoes, and plot out the schedule for cutting and bleaching my hair to achieve peak middle-aged skunk punk pixie for my book tour, I guess? Get a website, ramp up my social media game, attempt to sneak onto the literary scene, and try not to die of Imposter Syndrome? Try not to die, period. Just as I was at the beginning of my third trimesters of pregnancy, I am scared, and excited, and I have no idea what to expect once my creation comes into the world. And I'm also burping a whole lot. A side-effect of both pregnancy and publishing. Who knew?
So, on March 26th, 2019, I will push my book baby out into the world. There will be screaming. there will be tears. There will be strangers seeing some very intimate parts of me. The days and weeks and months that follow will be filled with sleepless nights, gnawing anxieties, and hardcore bouts of second-guessing every single one of my life choices. There will also be priceless moments of pride and elation, and a deeper awareness of what an immense privilege it is to have brought this book to life.
I know that no one will ever love my first book as much as I do. Nor will anyone ever truly understand the emotional rollercoaster ride that my family and I have been on since this whole 'Hey I'm Gonna Write A Book' thing began almost 13 years ago (because - surprise! - I am NOT terribly skilled at keeping my semi-regular freak-outs to myself.) Most people will just see the newly born brightness of my book's cover, give it a little coochie coochie coo (and hopefully buy it, which you can do HERE), and only ever have the slightest inkling of how proud and/or terrified I am that this little piece of me is now out there, flying solo in the world.
120 days. Better start practicing some breathing techniques.