I’m counting down to the final chapters, plotting out what happened when, making sense of the final twists and turns of this part of my adventure.
If books are like babies, I’m really pregnant right now. Somewhere in my 35th week when things are almost fully-cooked, almost able to come into the world and be all right on their own. But not quite. It still needs a bit more baking time. (I realize babies and books aren’t actually loaves of bread or pans of cinnamon rolls or the gluten-free mozarella sticks I have in the oven right now as a pre-dinner snack and reward for writing another chapter today.)
But I’m starting to feel like I’ve accomplished something. And also heavy with the weight of 58,000 words of writing. I estimate another 3 chapters and then I’m done with the first draft.
Then I’ll hold it close for a while and nurture it a bit longer.
I will have to edit all of these words, I tell myself. Every single one. I’ll have to read them all over again. And again. And maybe even again.
While it seems a bit overwhelming, I’m excited to get to the editing. To flesh out the thin chapters, pare down the overstuffed ones and add a little humor into an potentially otherwise grim story. Maybe I managed to include some of the absurdity in the first draft. I don’t remember now. I started writing only in the Spring, but it seems long ago now.
And then I’ll let other people hold my newborn baby. While I’ve been sending it to my lovely husband, chapter by chapter as I finish them, letting others read the edited, somewhat polished, thing seems terrifying.
I think it’s turning out well on the whole. It’s a good story, set in an interesting place. I don’t think I tell it in an irritating or terribly awful way. So while I imagine it will be able to be improved and shined some more, I think it’s generally sound and readable.
But it’s my story. I have sex in this book. I’m going to let people read about that. Plus all the other stuff that happened.
I hear that when authors write these memoir things, we’re supposed to write like no one is ever going to read it. And I’ve been doing that. Write from the heart of my experience. Tell the story that only I can tell. Been doing those things, too. Write as if I have no plans to publish it. Yep.
But I do. And it’s dawning on me at the end of this book pregnancy that my words are going to see the light of day. That the gestation is drawing to a close.
People told me that I couldn’t begin to comprehend life as a parent until I was there, immersed in it. Pregnancy was one thing. Parenting an actual live baby was another. I suspect that writing a book and putting it out there for the world to (hopefully) read is similar. With a lot fewer diaper changes.