Writer’s Fear

I am getting there with the book, at last. I think. I have got some time off work next week to get really stuck in. And I am scared.

This is real life. A story that happened a long time ago that felt like a big deal at the time but that is just the way things are now. What if people think it is boring? What if no one wants to buy it? What if Tom hates it?

We are open about things. He knows that when I found out I was having a baby, I was scared and I wasn’t ready. He knows that I didn’t know anything about babies and thought that all they did was cry and poo. He knows that I got a pleasant surprise when I met him and that I love him very much. He knows that I am writing a book about it all and he says it is fine, but he is only six.

Right now, I have recounted the story in my head so many times and looked at the manuscript so often that it feels like big plate of tangled up spaghetti in my head.

A long time ago, I interviewed the lovely Caroline Smailes about her book Black Boxes and I asked her which was more difficult: giving birth or writing a book. She said the book.

When women are in labour, sometimes they go crazy when they get to the transitional stage; the bit where the baby makes it round the corner and it’s time to start pushing. It really hurts and they’ve had enough and they don’t think they can do it any more. When I got to that part, I said to the midwife “If you gave me a loaded gun now, I would shoot myself.” She told me not to be silly, but I meant every word. In the end, Tom got stuck and I had to have a caesarean.

I suppose that’s where I am with this book: the transitional stage. I am frightened that I can’t do it and I’m panicking a bit.

They don’t extract books by emergency caesarean if they get stuck. You have to keep pushing.

I’m going to go back to it now. I want some gas and air.


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8 responses to “Writer’s Fear

  1. You’ll be great, it’ll be great. I can’t wait to read your book!

  2. Witchmountain

    Don’t be scared , its “pain with a purpose” ! That’s what they say isn’t it?!( shortly before you shout “shut the **** up and make it stop”) I think your writing is great and your story will chime with so many people. Good Luck. x

  3. I can understand this so well and I’ve neither given birth NOR written a book. Something about the spaghetti and the event seeming like a non-event really hit home. However, let me say – I love your writing, when you post I always click straight to it, if you can make not writing sound as interesting as you do I am absolutely sure you can do justice to an event in your life that is anything but minor. Best of luck! I cant wait for it.

  4. Totally relate to this creatively, and the fact my baby was distressed so I needed a c section! Love the analogy! I’m a screenwriter (and director) and so much of what we do is bloody painful-I find the longer I work on something, the more distrorted it all becomes (first drafts are always the best and least disturbed by well meaning developers and your Mum’s opinion on everything)… and the greater the self doubt. That’s usually when I try and take a break from everything but more often than not, the culmination of panic arrives right before I need to buckle up and meet a deadline-it’s the final hurdle. Go for it!

  5. I know how you feel, I went through all the same emotions. You have to trust your instincts. But make sure you rewrite, a lot.

  6. Ann

    You can do it! I for one am really looking forward to being able to read it. Your blog is one of the many highlights of my week and has actually made the thought of becoming a mum far less terrifying to me. Spes ultima moritur!

  7. lilydunn

    I totally relate to this, having written a book, had two babies, and now struggling with my second book. It’s taken me the last three years and though I’m so much further with it than I was a year ago (mainly to do with more time and headspace from kids who are 3 and 5), it is still a massive struggle of self doubt & questioning. Initially in the early days after having my second child, when I was struggling away while paying a childminder I had a lot of those – ‘is it worth it?’ questions, which I still ask myself now, though with time I see the point and I am beginning to accept myself as a writer and it being something I am driven to do. It’s not easy though, particularly with kids in tow.

    • Emily

      Isn’t it just? Especially when it involves real life (I looked yours up and saw it does – I will have to read it!) It’s so tiring going over stuff you’d rather forget.
      I find it harder still because I am the breadwinner. I’m very lucky to be able to work from home AND have a job that allows me to right about one of my favourite subjects every day, but that and mum duties do mean the book is a middle of the night afterthought – and has been for two years.
      My amazing mother actually looked after my son for the last week and I took some time off work to come to Gladstone’s Library and write. I still haven’t finished, but I have made a LOT of progress, something which never would have happened with the juggling act at home (and I only have one!) Good luck Lily, you will get there in the end. Thank you for commenting – Emily.

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