Writing Fiction Is Like Giving Birth
The best analogy for writing fiction, if you have to do it, is that it is like giving birth. Not having female reproductive equipment I can’t vouch for that particular statement but I can see some analogies.
Like birth, the initial idea is just a concept, waiting to be brought into the world.
Through hard work, joy, sorrow and the whole emotional spectrum, you agonize and delight over the story.
Eventually, you decide to write the story and you tell everybody. Everybody is excited for you, you have visions of being a great writer, champagne, parties, invitations to be on Stephen Colbert (wait, he doesn’t do fiction – make that Oprah then), you are just in the conception stage. And eventually the conception period is over. You look at your unshaven face (if you are a woman, your unshaven legs), your computer word processor of choice, you see that you have a title and a lot of blank space under it. Welcome to the land of hard labor. If you are lucky it will last nine months. For a lot of fiction writers they are on their ninth year. It takes a lot of discipline and patience, just like in giving birth to a child.
Just like you take classes in preparation for child birth – well, if you aren’t you should you silly billies, you need to prepare for the birth of your fiction. Do you have it already in outline form? If not, and you are the write as you go type, are you disciplined enough to wake up and do your pre birth breath and writing exercises? You will need to spend at LEAST five minutes a day on writing. If you can, work up to half an hour or even better an hour. Initially, once you have hit that time frame, stop. If you have the energy and time to continue writing, great. For some people, it gets to be a chore, like a pregnancy where you are excited but exhausted and secretly want it over and over now!!!!
By writing a little each day, you will eventually get to the end of your fictional novel. Sadly, unlike real life labor, once you are done giving birth with your literary baby you need to go back and start with the rewrites.
That is right, you need to go back into creative labor again and again to polish your fictional baby. You want her to be an attractive baby so everybody who picks up the kid wants to look at it and ultimately buy it.
So, if you really think you have the fiction bug and feel you just have to give birth, remember that in real life, writing fiction is messy, time consuming and will cost you in time, possibly in money and definitely in sanity. Or should that last line have been insanity?
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