Part Five: Motherhood and Beyond
The final chapter, at last! If you missed the previous installments, you can get caught up real quick (and by “real quick,” I mean, at a leisurely pace over an hour or two, since I failed to be terse, short-winded or laconic with these posts):
There might be pregnant ladies out there who can finish a novel, put a gourmet meal on the table every night of the week, knit baby booties, and liberate oppressed nations single-handedly, all at the same time, but I was not one of them.
Pregnancy for me meant exhaustion and depression and, when the exhaustion and depression finally went away, being too big and uncomfortable to sit in a chair for any length of time–which made the exhaustion and depression return.
And I panicked. I thought, Dear God, we have no money now, what the hell are we going to do when the baby is born? Babies are expensive! I need … A PLAN!
So the plan was:
1. Finish the novel before the baby was born.
2. Send it out to betas.
3. By the time the betas were done reading, I ought to have the whole Mom thing down, and be able to do edits and make necessary changes.
4. Start querying.
5. Land an agent.
6. Get published.
According to the timeline I had established in my head, I ought to have made it to Step 3 by early 2011, and be well on the way to Step 5 by summer.
It is to laugh.
I signally failed to finish the novel before the baby was born. In fact, I failed to make any progress whatsoever, and most everything I wrote during that time was awful and had to be deleted.* I made negative progress while I was pregnant. I blame the panic. I stopped writing because I loved the story, and started writing purely so that I could get published and make money.
In October 2010, my son was born.
Between various unrelated-to-the-novel deadlines, and The. Most. High-Maintenance. Infant. On Earth. it wasn’t until just two months ago that I had the time and mental energy to write again.
All of the above, I know, sounds like an endless complaint–and yes, the year of my pregnancy was awful, and the year following my son’s birth has been one of the hardest of my life. But last year, a year ago, when I was feeling my child writhe and flail and kick inside me (he hated being confined, even in the womb, this kid, I tell you, he’s crazy) and wishing like hell for a time turner so I could just get it over with, I still wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to finish my novel, I still didn’t know enough, I was trying to do things for the wrong reasons, I was in general my own worst enemy.
Isn’t that always the way?
*Not true. Much of it turned out to be usable later on, with editing; it just didn’t fit in the story where I thought it should go.