Writing and child bearing/rearing are not too dissimilar. When a woman is pregnant she grows and feeds her baby with her own body. Essentially bits of her are being used to create a new person. Then the delivery comes.
It is hard. It is painful. It seems to the mother that she will never be able to do it. She needs help from medical professionals and loved ones to coach her through the birth. Once she brings the baby home and begins to raise it she feels drained all over again, this time more of what she gives is emotional. She disciplines, feeds, cleans, and instills morals and virtues. She teaches, reprimands, praises, and all while getting very little in return.
But she doesn't do it for the praise, though it would be nice from time-to-time. She does it because she felt something inside of her that said she should be a mother. That she had the ability and unique skills to bring a human into this world and raise them to be an integral part of it. Some days are joyful and life-giving to her. And some days it’s like the circus, but not in the fun-loving popcorn and peanuts and entertainment way, but in the catastrophic, the lion is out of the cage and ate the trainer, sort of way.
This is what it is like to write a book. Your words will pour out from your soul. You will bleed onto the page. You will nourish and grow your book from your own mind. Letting go will be painful. You will want to hold on to your manuscript for a few more months before submitting it to an editor. And then the real sacrifice comes.
You begin the editing process and you find that your beautiful little book has become a raging, tantrum throwing, angel-when-they’re-sleeping toddler. You find that you have to give even more of yourself, which you did not think was possible, to the cutting and re-working of your book. And your book never says thank you. But you keep writing.
You write because you must. You write because something inside of you said that you should write down all that you know and all that you see so that someone else can read it and be touched. You want this because you have felt it yourself. You have read something that touched you so deeply and resonated with you so soundly that your life changed, even just the slightest bit. And that is what you want to give to others.
There are joyful days when writing is great. When the muses are on your side and the words are flowing from your soul. And there are days when you feel dried up and used. Days where you feel your words will never reach another person let alone affect them in any way. Days where you want to give up and start on something else.
But, just like that mother would never withhold love from her child, saving it for the next one who might be more gracious and kind, you cannot withhold creativity and ideas from your work, saving them for the next one which will probably be better and well received.
No, you must give it your all. Everything that you have, even when you don't think you have more to give. Because your work will never be the best it can be, and you will never be the best you can be, if you hold anything back.
What do you do when you feel like throwing in the towel on your work and starting something else? Share it with us in the comments section below.