When first pregnant, I attacked parenting the same way I’ve dived into writing.
While a helpful strategy, it only got me so far. With pregnancy, about the first two minutes of labor.
Then reality hit.
And kept hitting.
My first reality check as a parent came two weeks after the whirlwind of pain, sleep deprivation, and swollen boobs that is the peri-partum period: Baby is finally eating well, but suddenly won’t stop crying all night long.
Congratulations! You’ve got a perfectly healthy baby boy with colic.
I think I’ve reached the same point as a writer. There hasn’t been a sudden change; no, my boobs haven’t gotten any bigger, and my kids aren’t crying (any more than usual). Neither am I, despite the rejection letters piling up.
But I’m approaching a year of “doing this”, and I’m feeling like:
Oh my gosh. This is what it’s going to be like EVERY DAY.
It’s like being pregnant all over again (and what a terrifying, soul-searching thought that is).
This is my life. This is my life as a writer. It is relentless. It is every day. I have written approximately 150,000 words. And so far, I have earned a sum total of $10 doing it (thank you, Mad Scientist Journal).
Sounds a lot like parenting, except the daily spit-up and diapers are replaced by form rejection letters. And the personalized rejection letters are like the handwritten notes I now get from my daughter:
(As an example of her learning to write, I cherish it. But…)
So I’m facing my reality check, and I’m taking lessons from both writing and parenting.
What would my daughter do? Write me another letter!
(Translation: “Worst mother ever that is horrible.” Compared to that from the child of my VERY LOINS, what’s a measly rejection letter?)
What would my main character do? Make a grappling gun out of binder clips and duct tape. Eat more bacon. Never give up.
There are worse ways to face reality.