Today is June 15, and I’m due to have a baby girl on June 18.
This is my first baby, and while I’m sane enough to know that I don’t need a diaper wipes warmer (baby stuff is so crazy), I’ve been asking a lot of my professional writer mom friends how they continued to write while balancing new and extensive responsibilities (and lack of sleep).
There’s good news. One friend, a New York Times best selling author, wrote that same best-selling book on maternity leave with her first baby. She said instead of reading, she’d write while nursing. Short bursts of time that made a book.
So I bit the bullet and bought an arm/wrist pillow called “My Breast Friend” to help me type while I nurse.
Another friend wrote her first book on maternity leave, and said the sleep deprivation actually helped the writing process because (1) you just write and don’t care too much except to put words on the page, and (2) your brain takes you to strange and hallucinatory places.
Neat! Who needs Timothy Leary?
And yet another writer friend, currently revising her memoir for Julie Strauss-Gabel (so she’s no slouch), is due with her first baby a few weeks behind me. We’ve talked about how this is going to work for us individually, but also how we can rely on each other as we go forward. This makes me supremely happy, and confident. Writers get other writers. We understand the joy and pain of the work, the personal time and family time and events and parties we sacrifice for more time alone with a computer or a red pen. We are drawn to the allure of an experience about to begin, watching with hawk eyes for details and narrative, perhaps insight into a new character just born into the world.
“Easy reading is damn hard writing,” said Nathaniel Hawthorne. Yes, I think the writing will be damn harder going forward. But I also welcome the challenge and rewards of new perspective. I’ve been working on something that is pushing boundaries and making me laugh out loud–so far, so good. Time spent nursing/staring/rocking/thinking more deeply about ideas and characters will only help the writing. Time to be challenged, frustrated, bored.
So for now we write, and we wait and see if Baby Girl arrives on time this Sunday. I haven’t missed a deadline yet, but hey, I’m not in charge of this one. This is a team effort, just like writing, like how I rely on my critique partners and studio mates, and classmates at Hugo House, and writing friends throughout Seattle and beyond.
My primary takeaway? It never hurts to add to your team.