It is an honor to have Charlie Nicholes Holmberg, author of the upcoming YA novel The Paper Magician, dropping by the blog today. As Charlie takes the stage below she shall discuss the parallel expectations, trials, tribulations and joys of creating both a book and a human being.
How Pregnancy Is a Lot Like Writing a Book
by Charlie Nicholes Holmberg
Next year I’ll be both a debuting author (my YA-crossover novel, The Paper Magician, will be released Summer 2014 from 47North) and a debuting mother (my still-unnamed little girl is due in February from my uterus). In the meantime, as I’m working on books and working on growing a human simultaneously, I’ve realized that, in a very abstract way, they’re not so different.
Allow me to explain.
First, there’s that twinkle in your eye.
Writing: You get a story idea, maybe a plot piece, a character, or a magic system. You think, “Hey, this wouldn’t be so bad. It’s a lot of work, but I think I can pull it off.” You start to make plans, to spread the idea out, to figure out how it will all work.
Pregnancy: You get the inkling that maybe a little tike running around would be a good addition to life. You think, “Hey, this wouldn’t be so bad. It’s a lot of work, but I think I can pull it off.” You start to make plans and figure out how it will all work.
Second, you have to work on it every day.
Writing: Daily word counts get the book finished. A little here, a little there, but daily efforts will make the story progress steadily. You’ll have it finished in no time!
Pregnancy: You grow the kid a little bit every day (granted, you can’t really take a day off!). A little here, a little there, but the effort (and the nausea, and the stretch marks) has the pregnancy progressing steadily. You’ll have this baby finished in no time!
Third, you discover things no one ever told you about.
Writing: You discover your villain actually needs consistent motivation to be effective. You realize you actually have no idea what’s going to happen in the middle of the story, or that your great idea actually has a massive plot hole in it. Or that at this rate, your book will be too short, or too long (guilty as charged).
Pregnancy: Yeah, everyone knows about morning sickness and weight gain. But no one mentions that you’ll actually be sick all day, and that meat will suddenly become the most disgusting thing in the world. Or that you will begin to itch EVERYWHERE, and you’ll think you’re crazy until you Google the problem and find out you’re normal. Which is only somewhat comforting.
(Oh, and you’ll have to pee at least three times every hour the moment second trimester hits. Which means you’re buying toilet paper every single week and explaining to your friends/coworkers/themanwhoimpregnatedyou why you have to excuse yourself, again.)
Fourth, there’s always pain involved.
Writing: You get harsh critiques from readers. You realize you have to completely scrap 20,000 words because they just don’t work. You’re sick of plodding away on this manuscript, but you have to keep going if you’re going to get it out there . . . and then you experience rejection after rejection after rejection.
Pregnancy: It becomes impossible to bend over. You get cramps and pull ligaments and develop spider veins. You’re sick of being pregnant, but you have to keep going if you’re going to get it out there . . . and then you experience contraction after contraction after contraction.
But, in the end, it’s always worth it.
Writing: You land that agent, that book deal. Or, even if the manuscript flops, you’ve strengthened yourself as a writer. You have bragging rights. Your resume is that much stronger, and your next story will be, too. You have something special that you made, and it will stay with you for years and years to come.
Pregnancy: Blood, sweat, and tears (literally, literally, literally) aside, you now have that bundle of joy in your arms! And even when the baby won’t stop crying or chafes your nipples (sorry for the TMI, but it happens!), you know you’ve accomplished something great. You have something special that you made, and it will stay with you for years and years to come.
Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. Charlie currently resides in Moscow, Idaho with her husband.