In many ways, I’ve had an ideal writer’s life for the last few years. For a while, I was very frustrated with myself, because I felt like I was doing the novel-writing process in the wrong way, and that I was missing some right way to be creative.
For the last six months, I’ve taken a different approach to giving birth to my novel. Rather than thinking of novel-writing as a project or task to be completed, I’ve begun to work with the soul of my book, and treat it as though it were a person rather than an inanimate object that will sit on a shelf or in the Amazon cloud.
One thing that has been helping me to move forward is to look even more closely at the parallels between creating a novel and giving birth to children.
My child-bearing experience was different from many women. I stopped working as much as possible when I had both my kids and enjoyed the pregnancy. I believed and still believe that women should treat themselves very kindly when they are pregnant.
On the whole I look back at my pregnancies as some of the most enjoyable times of my life, because I felt that I was doing sacred work. My belief was that my children were special people being sent by God to live in the world and take part in the Great Turning of our world. I still believe they are my greatest creations.
Yet, I also feel that the books that I’m writing could be contributions to changing the way we look at the world to support a Great Turning towards honoring life and the earth more than greed and materialism. Creating the novels has actually felt more difficult for me than having children. So, I’m starting to honor more and more what I did when I was pregnant.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed.
During both pregnancies, I had cravings for foods that I never liked before then. The one I remember the most is pink grapefruit juice. I couldn’t get enough of it while I was pregnant with both of my children, and hated grapefruit juice before that time. I still like to drink it every so often, because it reminds me of that special time in my life.
My novel has different cravings.
While I’ve been writing my novel, I’ve had a strange desire to listen to Led Zeppelin music, which I didn’t like at any other time in my life although, though I had always loved the song Kashmir. As I started writing more deeply, I started to get weirdly obsessed with listening to Kashmir, and then decided maybe I should listen to more Led Zeppelin and found I now like it.
It’s the strangest thing to me, but I feel like somehow Led Zeppelin music has a certain kind of soul to it that the soul of my book craves. For someone who is fairly introverted and loves quiet, lyrical New Age and Classical music this attraction to Led Zeppelin music feels odd.
On top of that, I started writing my own music and lyrics. That has helped me to hear the book’s story. I attribute these new connections with music to the soul of the book requiring me to be lyrical in a different way for it.
When I was pregnant with both of my boys, I had a certain way of living that I’m now embracing with novel-writing. While pregnant, I allowed myself to:
- Trust that something bigger than myself was working through me.
- Treat that time of giving birth as a holy gift and treasured it.
- Enjoy the process of listening to what the soul of my book needs to grow and flourish.
- Act upon what the soul of the new life in me needs.
- Appreciate that giving birth takes a lot of energy so I deserve to be kind to myself.
- Allow the new life to come forth when it is ready.
This is my way of giving birth to children and novels. It’s not for everyone. Other people who I knew worked very hard while they were pregnant and it was not a big deal to them. They could multi-task. For the most part, I could only do one thing.
Other women’s childbirth experience was very different from mine, but also good for them. Just like there are other people who work full-time and write great books, there are many ways to be a writer. Some people need quiet, some need to be writing around other people.
We all have to find the way to give birth that is best for us. There is no one size fits all approach to writing.
Have you found your own path to honoring the cravings and soul of your writing?