So, if you’re like me, you kind of like to make plans about this whole writing thing and generally espouse on how great being a published author is. For example:
- “I’m going to write my next book in three months’ flat!”
- “I’m going to write my next book right after that!”
- “My writing career is off to a great start!”
- “I love being able to write whenever I can!”
- “I love that my kids are growing older and don’t need me all of the time!” (Okay, this is not entirely true since my oldest is 7 and youngest is 22 months, but you know what I mean)
- “I’m finally a bona fide author and can enjoy the craft, plus make some decent money!” (Again, not entirely true yet but hopefully will be soon)
So here I am, kind of in a writer’s la-la-land when the news comes in (“This just in – literally!”). I am pregnant with #3. Not book, but BABY.
Don’t ask me if this was planned, because my response will be something like, “Ummm … what do you mean exactly by planned?” Does, yes we were open to it but not sure if it would happen, suffice? And what about not expecting it to happen, well, now when we kind of have a few things going on, like editorial deadlines?
My brain is officially mush and I have the same amount of energy as a slug. I got the final edits into my editor for book #2, SWEET LIFE (Berkley Books, Sept 2008 – aka THE ALOHA DIARIES before we changed the name), and it’s gone off for copy edits. This happened before sperm met egg. But now my husband’s second book, THE SEVEN PERSONALITIES OF GOLF (Stewart Tabori & Chang, Sept 2008) is due at the end of the year (what does his deadline have to do with me being pregnant? Refer to the “my brain is officially mush …” and picture him preparing meals and vacuuming while also trying to run his golf academy and write his book). And I was supposed to get a synopsis and sample chapters for book #3 to my editor by Thanksgiving (not!). So then I asked if December would be okay (not not!). Finally I asked my agent to intervene and play the “my client is pregnant and a basket case” card until I can pull it together. Really. The fact that I am even writing this post is somewhat of a miracle.
So I actually went into a bit of a slump. OK, it could be the hormones (I am 39, after all – my hormones are ALL OVER the place, not to mention the pregnancy kind of kicked it into high gear) but I know it is more than that. Sometimes our best-laid plans about how our books will do or what our writing career will look like can throw us for a loop. Honestly? I was a wee disappointed, not to mention discouraged (the latter a result of my “brain mush” state) that the thought of writing my next book now feels about as fun as running 26 miles in high heat.
But I like to think that even though I can barely manage to bathe myself a couple of times a week, that there is an infinitely creative purpose and process in store for me with baby #3 and book #3. Of course, I have no idea what that could be, but I have learned that it does work out. It does.
So if you get thrown for a loop with your books or your writing process, have your breakdown (if necessary), voice your fears and concerns (even the unpopular ones), and then, well, roll with it, baby. Expect it to be a great ride, even if it wasn’t the one you planned to get on. Leaving room for possibilities can be one of the greatest creative experiences of all.