Manuscripts and the Little Plus Sign #mommy #writing #amwriting #momlife

One fateful day in February I stood in my bathroom staring at an array of little white sticks. The little pink plus signs laughed at me as I muttered several colorful metaphors under my  breath. For a few months prior my husband and I went back and forth with the idea of having another child. Since I had been so dead against it for the last five years, he was hesitant to believe I had actually changed my mind about considering it and for good reason.

Of course as the months went by with nothing happening I began to think about the idea again and my mind started to change. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea. Maybe we should just forget about it and enjoy our lives as a single child household. Of course, wouldn’t you know that’s when the choice was made for me and POOF I was reading a digital stick that read “Hey dimbulb, why aren’t you believing those other plus signs?”

The next morning I drug my sick self out of bed at 4am to write. About thirty minutes and with not a single word typed I shut off the computer and went back to bed frustrated, even more sick, and exhausted beyond comprehension. Over the course of the next few days, and after repeated failed attempts to write, I started to become concerned. Could I write while pregnant? Did Authors write while pregnant? Surely they did, so why can’t I? I began searching for any information or blogs about the subject and came across one that I kept going back to from time to time when I needed encouragement. The author made me feel as though I could do it, even if I didn’t think I could.

My first trimester was harder with this pregnancy than the last. I was sick and I was exhausted, all day, everyday. I mean, like a new level of exhausted I never thought could be possible. Getting up at 4am to write, which besides my lunch hour was my only time to write, was impossible. And even if I managed to drag myself out of my bed I couldn’t concentrate for beans. How can you write a scene when all you want to do is kneel in front of a white porceline thing you are ment to sit on?

Before I found out I was pregnant my edits were coming along with a pace I was proud of, a pace that I believed would give me a March 1st completion date – a happy thought after two and a half years and many failed completion dates. After those little plus signs came, though, the days began to slip away from me. A chapter took weeks to revise and edit instead of days, and before I knew it I wasn’t even half  way done and March 1st seemed like a distant memory.

I worked through my frustrations and sick days though, and by the seat of my pants finished the novel May 1st, just before I was supposed to pitch it to an agent at a conference I was attending on May 5th. I would love to give this great inspirational diatribe about how I did it and how anyone going through the same thing can too, but to be honest, I really don’t know how I did it. Sheer dumb luck, comes to mind, though. For a few weeks I never gave it much thought because I was in the submission process with manuscript #1 anyways. Of course after the exciting newness of that died down I was faced with the fact that now it was time to begin manuscript #2.

It’s been no secret that I have struggled with this manuscript. Between the plot, the characters, the world, and the research my head is spinning most days. Combine that with the ever growing belly, the body aches, and fatigue, I started to wonder if I was even meant to write another novel, or at least was I meant to before I popped. The answer to that question for me was simple in theory. “Yes!” I screamed at myself and then proceeded to pound my head into the desk when days would go by before I would open the document. I struggled with conversations that should have been easy and struggled to envision the world I’m so desperately trying to describe. I find myself distracted a lot, especially on the internet. Why research the struggles of Alaskan wilderness trail life when there are cute baby things to look at on my lunch hour? I had wanted the first draft done before my second daughter arrives in October, but I know it won’t happen. Not only can I not think about drafting a whole manuscript right now, but I’m also faced with more revisions on manuscript #1, so I manuscript #2 is on hold.

Entering into my third trimester, I still can’t even consider getting up at 4am  unless it’s a rare occasion like a weird dream that wakes me up and stirs my brain so much that I can’t get back to sleep. In the afternoons the dizziness sets in and I lose all capable brain power. The revisions are going slow and I find that most days my brain is nothing more than mush. When you ask a butcher if a pound of hamburger will make four hamburgers and he looks at you biting his lip to keep from laughing while he says “Yeah, four quarter pounders” you know you aren’t working on all cylinders. It’s even double worse for me because I’m an accountant.

The last couple of days that I’ve been revising I’m happy to say that really looking at each line again is helping. I’m starting to see the mistakes and errors. I’m starting to understand why it has been rejected numerous times. And, I’m starting to see where I can add the depth to show and not tell and make it better. Now all I have to do is get done with these revisions. Course, that would be a whole heck of a lot easier if I hadn’t just gotten over a migraine that lasted me 5 days. This pregnancy has not been easy. Not from day one. So I think it’s just best to smile, and no matter how hard it is to say, I am going to leave the pressure at the door and I will just enjoy what I can get done. Period.

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