Sunday, October 10, 2010

All My Children

No, not the soap opera...
I've noticed the process of writing can be described as almost being like motherhood. 
An idea is planted in our mind and our imagination nourishes the tiny idea as it splits and grows, just like an embryo.  We turn the idea around and around until it takes shape.  Sometimes, the idea even kicks back at us.
When it is ready, we give birth to the idea into our computer or onto paper with a pencil or pen.  Our idea becomes a rough draft to be further shaped and formed and disciplined.  Much like a young child.
Sometimes our rough draft takes on a life of its own, telling us what it wants to do and where it wants to go.  Just like a mother to a teen, we give it some leeway.  Sometimes our idea surprises us when we watch it go places and do things we never expected.  And sometimes we need to take authority and pull back before it gets out of hand.
When our rough draft is finally a polished story with all the correct elements, discipline and form, we begin to play matchmaker.  And just like any matchmaker, we search for the one place that will love and cherish and appreciate our little darling as much as we do.
Sometimes our little one comes back home rejected.  We cry and feel so badly.  Perhaps we rushed our little one out the door failing to hold it arm's length long enough to see its flaws with a discerning eye.
So, we tidy up our little one, maybe rework it all together, keeping its underlying sense of adventure, and search for another match.
Maybe our little one will never find the perfect match.  Maybe they served only as practice for the entire process of writing and submitting and thickening our skin.  Perhaps someday, bits and pieces of our little ones will meld into a new little one.
Just think of the adventures our little ones have experienced once they leave our hands.  By submitting, we know at least one person will read it.  With any luck, it may be passed on to the next person in the chain of decision.  And sometimes our little ones get accepted and the number of readers may be too large to imagine.
I do know that as writers (and mothers) we owe it to our children to let them go and explore the big world, otherwise they will never grow, and neither will we.