Writers often compare the process of writing and publishing a book to pregnancy and delivery. At least female writers who have given birth do.
Want to know why they do it?
Because, as this past week and a half have demonstrated, it’s the closest thing around to a perfect analogy. That lightbulb switched on for me two years ago, during the writing of A Different Dream for My Child. But as it turns out, my first labor and delivery was a piece of cake.
How do I know that?
Because the labor and delivery of Different Dream Parenting, which is happening even as I type, has been a little trickier than the first time around. The problem with this problem child is paginating the index. Turns out, hunting for random words in a manuscript and recording the page numbers accurately is painstaking work, with emphasis on the pain.
How do I know that?
Because the past few days of index work have been painful. So painful that I’ve developed lamaze technique for writers. The emphasis is more on relaxation and distraction than breathing, since birthing a book doesn’t require the massive intake of oxygen necessary for birthing a baby, and I’m big on hyperventilation. Here’s how I do it:
Stage One Labor:
Work on index until head begins to ache. This is the indication of stage one labor. Put on happy, distracting, soothing music and keep working until your head feels like it will explode. This indicates the beginning of stage two labor.
Stage Two Labor:
Take a deep, cleansing breath and let it out slowly. Turn off the music and walk down the road to the mailbox and back, breathing naturally. Then answer some emails, check FaceBook and Twitter. Or do some light housework – laundry, dishes, food preparation – until your head clears. Go back to indexing until your head feels ready to explode again. When deep cleansing breaths, walks to the mailbox, social networking, and light housework fail to clear your head, you are moving into stage three labor.
Stage Three Labor:
Take two deep, cleansing breaths and exhale slowly. Put in a Monk DVD and watch an episode. Absorb Monk’s persona – the love of order, columns, straight lines, and all things neat and tidy – until you love the thought of spending hours at a detail-oriented job like indexing. Return to indexing, refreshed and motivated.
DO NOT give into the urge to push until you reach the letter z. Then have at it and birth your bouncing baby book!