Today's post is done by Rochelle Campbell who is an author and mother (who by the way is about to give birth to a little girl) I asked her to explain how parenting and writing go hand in hand.
The writing of a book can be likened to the birthing of a baby. However, there are distinct differences. With a book, you can stop and come back to it at various points in time. Once you’re in labor, there is no stopping! You must proceed to the end result – the birth of the baby!
However, the overall writing process I follow parallels parenting nicely.
The brainstorming a new story is akin to the conversations both parents have about starting a family. However with a book, it is you and your muse having the conversation. The odd thing about this convo is it tends to be lopsided. Your muse tells you WHAT you should write and your brain/ego tell the muse all of the reasons why you should write this other thing that’s currently VERY HOT right now in publishing. (Oops, did I write that out loud??)
The outlining your story is similar to when your child is little you have all of these grandiose plans…like how you will behave when your child reaches this milestone and that pinnacle. These high points are akin to the plot points in your story. What (most) parents don’t do is to fill in the gaps in between these high points. How will you get from elementary school to middle school? What does that look like? What are the minutiae that go along with these years? But that’s like taking the fun out of life (and writing!). The fun is in enjoying the journey as you travel it. Otherwise we’ll be like that Adam Sandler movie Fast Forward. We’ll miss out on all the little joyous moments.
The ending of the story also parallels well. We think we know what the ‘end’ of parenting is – when a child graduates college (or maybe high school, depending upon what generation you’re in!). But is it really? Is that ending satisfying enough? Will the reader (or your child) find enough in what you’ve given? Or, will they want another tome/lesson? Or, will your child have all of the lessons truly necessary for their lives to run with them? Will they need more from us after graduation? We have to see as we go, don’t we? Same thing with writing!
The editing process is exactly like raising a child; one is not quite sure of the right way to do things. Why? Because there is no ONE right way to do anything! It is all about what is best for your child/your book at that moment. In time, you can revisit past decisions and revise what you’ve said/written and hopefully have an awesome result!
For all of these reasons, writers make great parents (albeit nerdy ones!) because many of the same steps we take to bring a story into the world are very similar to the ones utilized to rear a child. The same amount of thought, creativity, compassion, and wisdom required in great writing is necessary for great parenting.