Friday, January 7, 2011

M is for Mommy and Manuscript

This week I celebrated the one year birthday of my baby boy.  A YEAR OLD! 
I cannot believe it’s been a year.  A year that began with a flood of emotions, the likes of which I’d never experienced.  A bizarre mix of elation and anxiety, not to mention several crying jags, for those first weeks I think I went on auto-pilot mommy survival mode.  Feed, change, sleep.  Feed, change, sleep.  That was the routine for both of us and I could think of nothing else but his immediate needs.  Perhaps that’s biology.  Perhaps it’s psychology.  All I know is I was obsessed in the way only a new mother can be.
The anxiety eventually passed and I realized I could do this and I wasn’t nearly as clueless as I thought.  I learned that if I followed my instincts, I’d get it right OR I’d get pretty darn close.  Either way, baby boy seemed happy and really only fussed when hungry.  I know I was blessed with an “easy” baby.  I survived so did he, and he never knew what an amateur he was dealing with.
As the year has gone by, I’ve learned all about his schedule and getting him “sleep trained.”  I’ve learned what works for him and what doesn’t.  I learned early that you absolutely cannot eat onions and breast feed, unless you want a very unhappy baby on your hands.  I’ve learned that a night time ritual is not only good for him, but good for me.  The last thirty or so minutes of his day are the best thirty minutes of my day.  I’ve learned that you can be outrageously proud of someone for  holding up their head, rolling over, pushing up, getting to their knees, crawling, pulling up, standing alone, and one day soon, walking.
I’ve realized I’m ridiculously in love with my child and that it breaks my heart to have to scold him when he tries to reach for things that might hurt him.  Yet I know it’s in everyone’s benefit for him to learn rules now and for those rules to remain steadfast and stable.
What does this have to do with writing?  Well, I’ve learned some very similar things about my very first manuscript. 
At first I flailed about, clueless.  I just dove in and started writing with very little experience under my belt.  I soon realized that while I didn’t suck completely, I was not prepared.  I began seeking knowledge from those in the know, plotting and planning with more detail, laying out some ground work so that my “pantsing” had a few hangers to go with it.  I know that I’ll have to do a lot of editing on this first draft, but at least I’ll have a first draft.  I’ve learned some hard and fast do’s and don’ts this year and I’ve learned what absolutely won’t work for me and what will.  I’ve learned that I can get so excited about a really good scene and that, no matter how much it hurts, sometimes you have cut out what just took you a week to write.  Luckily, my story and characters don’t hold my amateur status against me (yet) and they just play along, patiently waiting for me to get my act together. 

I like to say I’m a Work In Progress too, just like my manuscript.  I’m constantly learning and, I’d like to think, improving.  I think I’ll be at “The End” in another couple of months, but that only means I’ll be at the beginning of some heavy rewrites.  That doesn’t matter to me though, I love the journey … as a writer and a mom.  


Anonymous said...

Beautiful bb, a big year for learning curves. And you've come out on top as an excellent mom and writer.

Sandra said...

This post is so beautiful. I love it. You're an amazing mum and an amazing writer. <3

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