The Labor of Writing

Kelly Braman Photograpy

Kelly Braman Photograpy


Just like babies are created and born out of love… so are books. They start out as little seeds, a bud of an idea, a trigger of a thought from a song, another book, an event, or maybe a movie. It is conception. At first, the jumble of ideas can make the author dizzy and a touch sick because all of the pieces are trying to form in their mind and all that comes out is either a spew of a few words, or a thick wave of intricate plots and characters. Overall, it’s not pretty and definitely not worth anything to anyone except the writer much like a newly pregnant woman doesn’t want to be seen in the throws of morning sickness before she has announced her good news.


But the writer continues, nurturing their thoughts with research, supplementing their precious miniscule idea with information. This is the happy time, the second trimester, the gathering more and more knowledge and growing the inkling  into a story. During this time, as the author is gathering their research, some attend writing group meetings, bouncing their creations off others who have been in their place before. The colleagues are much like hospital nurses during a routine ob/gyn visit a mother and baby must have each month. These fellow writers are impartial to the work and are able to give opinions and observations the author might not have being so close to their story. These helpful men or women can tell the author, ‘hey, watch out how much dialogue you put in there’ or ‘are you using a thesaurus to exercise your mind so your words come out strong and healthy,’ much like a nurse will impart their words of wisdom to a mother.

Sure, there are hard days where the author’s mind is blocked and frustration sets in. Their fingers are sore from typing, eyes twitching from overuse, but it’s all for the good of the story. And like a good mom gives up her body for her baby, the author does the same for the luscious glow of writing chapters at a time so pure gold can flow from mind to page without interruption .


Once the rough draft is finished, it’s time for the author’s early reader review. This might compare to a mother receiving sonograms throughout pregnancy. It’s the first look inside the book, checking to see if it’s growing correctly. It can catch imperfections or the wondrous sweet moments in the same way as an ultrasound views a fetus sucking it’s thumb or blowing bubbles in utero.  Those looks into the story are as priceless as a baby’s animation is. They show the author that they aren’t helpless. The creation is there and on it’s way to being a whole, perfect book.


The happiness and bliss from the free-flowing writing days toward the end start to dwindling down as the closer the story goes from rough draft into editing. Successfully, the story has become a book and only needs now a few more weeks of polishing and building until it’s ready to be released. Editors are the doctors at this point, taking us through the painful last examinations, jamming their words and corrections into the author’s most intimate work – the final draft. They poke around, telling the author what needs to happen before that final day. They tell them it’s getting close but not there yet and gives the writer hints and suggestions of what they need to do before the draft is perfect . It’s excruciating as the author’s flaws are exposed, and it hurts like a dull ache after reading through the comments. But the pain subsides and they sit back in a pair of pajamas and realize the editor was right. And like a waddling mama giving into a doctor’s suggestion to walk in order to induce labor- something she doesn’t want to do when she can’t even see her feet to tie her shoes-the author puts the editor’s suggestions to good use.


In the end, the final draft is a book and the release date is looming in the near future, like a baby’s due date. Those are the crazy last days the author has and is struggling and tired, but presses on, working in a frantic pace to expel this final product— a fully grown novel out into the world. The author’s friends and family are there by their sides telling  them they look beautiful despite their ragged appearance.  They have been there all the time, pushing  the author through those tough days and sometimes even bringing treats. They are there when the writer wants to quit, thinking they can’t do this anymore, telling them, “Yes, you can !” when the exhausted writer is too weary to continue.


Then the book is released. The baby is born. The novel is shiny and pretty with their bright face— their cover, luring the reader inside. And when the reader gets to know the book and the characters, they find that just like people, some are sweet, some are heroic, some are dark, but they are all beautiful in their own way. And just like in life, not everyone likes everyone else ,but someone will connect and relate and take the writer’s baby to heart just like the writer had done in their past. And maybe one day that little book taken into the heart of the reader, starts another bud of an idea and another author’s life is created and the circle begins again.



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