Books, Babies, & Ever-Evolving Variables

Forgive me for drawing the analogy, yet once again, of writing and raising a baby. After all, add in some engineering and you’ve got about 97% of my daily thoughts covered.

Anyhow, writing books and raising babies are surprisingly similar. Both are amazingly rewarding (at times) and terribly difficult (at times). And just when you think you get the hang of it, everything changes and a new challenge sits in front of you.

It’s like getting our kiddo to sleep through the night. By about 6 months old, he was pulling 9 hour stretches – 12 sometimes. Then we hit 9 months, went on some trips, started teething, and it all changed. There have been nights where he’d cry every 2 hours on the dot. We tried everything and then—BAM—we found teething tablets. His sleep got better, not perfect, but we were happy…and felt like successful parents. Until he got a cold. We got through that. And then after a particularly chilly weather spell, he was waking up sweaty in the too warm PJs we’d dressed him in. And now we’re weaning him and not sure what magic trick will keep him from waking up at 4 AM. (It’s a good thing I find him so dang cute…even at that un-Godly hour).

Sorry for the long-winded example. My purpose is not to complain, but to point out that everything we figure out only works for a while. And I know that when we finally conquer this night-night challenge, some other obstacle will present itself. The saving grace is that we're perfecting our ability to adapt and problem solve with ever-evolving variables.

Both Talia and Veronica alluded to this: Even if the “process” of writing the next book remains the same, there are so many other moving variables which force the entire experience to be different each time. Maybe it’s the pressures of writing book 2 or that you don’t have a hook or, in my case, you suddenly have a baby depending on you. So you may always write from a six page outline or pants it entirely, but every time you embark on a new novel, you may think it’s you that’s starting green.

Remember that you’re only a spring chicken once. With each chapter typed, each metaphor perfected, and each character developed, you hone those problem solving skills. You get better at adapting. And like Veronica mentioned, you gain confidence. The book after this one won’t be easy, but keep in mind, you’ll be able to roll with its punches better.

Okay, the kiddo’s finally sleeping…daddy better go do the same.


Love the picture, Bret! I have often thought that writing/publishing a book is much like birthing a baby! ANd yes, watching the child grow and grow. Enjoy both processes!

What a great analogy! I'm looking forward to the coming years when my 'babies' are all grown up and out in the world, and I can look back with fondness at the hard times. Maybe (like all goods kids should when they're grown) they'll look after me financially in my old age!

I read some of your more-recent posts out of order. THIS is what I'm talking about in terms of kids and finding time to write.

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