Yes, Writing a Book Really Is Like Giving Birth (Plus, an Announcement)

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On Saturday, April 11 at 6:49 am, my wife gave birth to our second son, Remington Seth Eugene Bunting—or Remy.

Remy

Remy

Remy

I won't go into all the details, the ten hours of labor preceded by forty-five hours of early labor. I will say it was one of the longest, hardest nights of my life, and I wasn't even giving birth.

There's a truism among writers that writing a book is like giving birth.

After witnessing birth, I understand what they mean.

My wife carried our child inside of her for more than nine months. She gave up things she enjoyed, she gave up her routines, she gave up her status quo.

Finally, when the time was right, her body sent her into labor. She had little control over the timing. She just knew that it was time for what was inside of her to come out.

She told me labor was the most painful thing she's ever experienced, the hardest thing she'd ever done. “I'm never doing this again,” she told me, while she bent over the hospital bed in pain. “We're never having any more kids.”

(I know, I told her. The next day, of course, she told people we would have one more child at least.)

And all of this she did for hope.

Hope that all the discomfort, the pain, the sacrifice would all result in something new, something that was both her and not her. She did this to create new life.

I don't want to trivialize labor—mothers, it seems to me, have it harder than writers—but as someone who has written four books now, I can't help but see the parallels.

Writing a Book is Like Giving Birth

We get these ideas, these seeds of new life that we carry around in our imaginations for months or even years.

To make them a reality, we sacrifice our time, our emotions, sometimes our sanity.

We often feel like we have no control over our writing. We are compelled to write. We couldn't quit if we tried. (Although, even if we don't feel compelled, we would write anyway.)

At some point in this process, writing becomes painful, devastating even. We long to give up. We decide to never write another book again.

And yet, we don't quit. Instead, we hope. We imagine the new thing we are creating, our story, our new life, this thing that is both us and not us.

When we finish it, we can't help but want to do it again.

Happy writing. And welcome to the world Remy Bunting!

Is writing like giving birth to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

PRACTICE

A writer/painter/composer is in the midst of labor over their masterpiece. Describe their thought process using descriptive detail.

Write for fifteen minutes. When your time is up, share your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers.

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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56 Comments

  1. Meg Czaszwicz Burke

    He is perfect. Beautiful. Sincerest Congratulations to you, your lovely wife, and kids. Welcome Remy!!

    Yes. Like birth. In fact, I do a lot of work with writers in their developmental and revision stages of writing, and I consider myself something of a literary midwife… a book doula if you will. Writing – like birth – is an extremely personal experience, but a little help along the way is always a good idea!

    I loved seeing the pictures, thank you for including your writing family in this most wonderful life event!

    Much Love!
    Meg

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Agreed, Meg. We all need help, whether giving birth to a book or a baby.

      Reply
  2. debbi

    No writing to share just congratulations on the adorableness of having a baby to love.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you Debbi. Remy is our second. Our first son, Mars, is still trying to figure out what to do with him.

      Reply
      • Guest

        Looks like he’s thinkg: He’s nice, Dad, but can we give him back now?

        Reply
      • Diane Turner

        Looks like he is thinking: He’s nice, Dad, but can we give him back now?

        Reply
  3. Amberdreams

    Congratulations to you and your wife! Welcome to the world, Remy.

    Reply
  4. seth_barnes

    I am so glad I only have to deliver books and not babies!

    We love our little Remington. Born with a face that launched a thousand ships.

    Reply
  5. Ruth

    Congratulations on your handsome new son! I can appreciate how busy your life has become. As far as comparison to writing a book….any creative enterprise has it moments of intense questioning as well as overwhelming reward. Enjoy every moment!

    Reply
  6. Claire

    Joe, my most heartfelt congrats to you and your wife on the birth of Remy! It’s a most adorable and regal name! Thanks for sharing the pictures. He’s truly beautiful, just like your other son, Mars!

    Reply
  7. Kathy Harris

    Great post!! I’ve given birth to 2 babies. This is harder! Lol! I wish I could have an epidural to make THIS easier! Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Joy

      Ha ha ha! That’s hilarious, Kathy! 🙂

      Reply
  8. madeline40

    Joe, Huge congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your beautiful son, Remy. (Hope the two of you can get some much needed rest – though with two children it doesn’t seem likely.) We also had two boys – what a joyous time you’re in for!

    Reply
  9. Krithika Rangarajan

    Congratulations Joe! #HUGSSSSSS And I enjoyed your analogy – personally, every blog post is like giving birth to a baby! LOL

    Welcome to our world, Remy! Muaahhhh

    OODLES of love and hugs
    Kitto

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      You must give birth to a lot of babies! 🙂 Thank you Krithika!

      Reply
  10. Debra johnson

    What a precious bundle of joy, Congrats!!!! I can see my writing as a new born, creating something from nothing then seeing it grow and learn and bring joy. That’s why I hate sending them out into the world. I don’t want to see them rejected or not accepted for what it has become.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I can definitely relate, Debra. As they say, though, if you love them, set them free.

      Reply
      • Debra johnson

        Then call me an over protective mom. lol

        Reply
  11. Joy

    Oh!!! Congratulations to you and your wife!!!!
    And thank you for this post. It’s very insightful. I love the correlations that you shared.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you, Joy. I’m sure that they’re not original insights, but I do hope they’re interesting. 🙂

      Reply
  12. crazyhawk

    What a gorgeous boy! Congratulations to you both. Welcome, Remy.

    Reply
      • Thomas Furmato

        Yes, congratulations.

        Reply
  13. James Hall

    Congratulations! What a wonderful, beautiful little story you get to watch grow up there.

    Writing may be like giving birth, but I have to say that the writing has been the easier part in my experience. It is a matter of dedicating yourself to keep going, to pop that sucker out there.

    The difficult part is taking this pile of burbing, head-bobbling, cuteness that poops itself and turning it into an upright, entertaining, respectable, and headstrong adult that will make the world a better place. Be sure to throw in the full-time day job, time for the wife, time for yourself. No wonder this process takes years.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Haha well said, James. Child birthing is easier than child raising!

      Reply
  14. Anna Lauren

    Oh Joe, he’s gorgeous! And I know gorgeous – I have nine grandchildren.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you Anna! It sounds like you have a lot of gorgeous in your life. 🙂

      Reply
  15. sarahhutchins

    Aw. he is gorgeous! Congratulations to you both. And also to big brother. Hope you all manage to get some rest. xx

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Me too, Sarah. Me too. Thank you!

      Reply
  16. Orson

    Congratulations on the new addition to the Bunting family.

    Writing isn’t like giving birth; it IS giving birth. Inside of us all are the seeds of inspiration that germinate with the right care which include the supplying of life-giving water that is encouragement. When you’re a pre-adolescent and you receive encouragement and other forms of support in developing creative energy, it gives rise to the noteworthy goals set in life that will allow for the showcasing of your talent, your work, your brainchild. The present is pregnant with wonderful possibilities.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you, Orson. And well said. “The present is pregnant with possibilities.”

      Reply
  17. Pastor QT

    Congrats on the birth of your baby. It’s an honor to be in Remy’s world.

    My favorite line “…the sacrifice would all result in something new, something that was both her and not her.”

    For me, writing, like giving birth is a commitment. It takes unbending dedication to push till the end to give birth artistically and naturally.

    And oh, my wife, just like yours kept on saying she would never do it again only to change her mind afterwards- we have four children!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Indeed it does!

      Isn’t that funny? I wonder what my wife will say after the next baby!

      Reply
  18. Anne Peterson

    Congratulations on your new addition. He’s adorable!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you, Anne! Although it feels more like multiplication than addition! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Beca Lewis

    Oh Joy! Congratulations Joe … and wonderful analogy too. Beautiful new baby boy. How wonderful is that!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Pretty wonderful! Thank you Beca!

      Reply
  20. N.K. Johel

    Congratulations Joe! He is beautiful.

    This Sunday, around the same time, I was going through major labor pains before my husband and I hit the button for real for Amazon Kindle release.

    t was an emotional and anguishing day, husband and wife yelling at each other. Laying fault. But after that button was hit, all was peaceful again. Hey, we thought, not so bad. We know how to do this. But you know, for every edit, there’s that same thing, except not so bad. Maybe that’s the baby waking up and needing feeding changing, etc. LOL. Great article Ingrid.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      First, congratulations on hitting publish! How exciting! Best of luck. 🙂 And I like the extension of the analogy. There are so many correlations, aren’t there?

      Reply
  21. Tanya Marlow

    Congratulations! And your wife definitely deserves some sort of medal.

    This post is actually really timely for me – my friends is struggling because she has just released a book and feels TERRIBLE. No one ever says this in public, but a book release can be a real emotional low. She’s also saying ‘I never think I’m going to write again. I don’t want to do this again.’ The parallels are pretty spooky!!

    (The book is also beautiful and amazing, needless to say – much like your son!)

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      YEP! Book launches are hard. What new writers don’t realize is the most disappointed writers are published authors.

      Reply
  22. Jeannine

    What wonderful news! Congratulations to the entire family.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Woohoo! Thank you Jeannine. 🙂

      Reply
  23. Gary G Little

    I have two events in my life that form diametrically opposed poles. One pole is the day I married my wife, and the other is the day I said goodbye and scattered her ashes. Between those two poles so many things have happened that I remember, not in chronological order, but they sparkle like tree ornaments just begging to be remembered. Skydiving, and breaking my leg while skydiving; I defy anyone to forget that, though the broken leg is a bit on the darker side. Singing in a chorus that took second at the Barbershop Harmony Society International Contest. Singing, as a soloist, the National Anthym for a pro hockey team. Working as a swim referree and explaining to a six year old why I had to disqualify her race.

    I was asked by my sister to be her coach as the time approached for their first baby to be born. I said sure, being the stupid brother that I was, insisting that Roger would be there for the delivery. Oh sure, my sister assured me, never fear, Roger would be there. We forgot to consult the United States Coast Guard on that small matter.

    I agree with Joe. There was screaming and yelling and language I swear I did not think my little sister knew, but one of my most sparkling ‘membrances is being in the delivery room, and seeing my niece begin this journey. May the new Bunting have wonderful ‘membrances.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      So many stories waiting to be written. Thank you for sharing this, Gary.

      Reply
  24. @kidlitSarah

    Agreed–writing is like giving birth. Fantastic post, beautiful boy! Huge congrats to you and your wife. Welcome to the world, Remy!

    Reply
  25. Thomas Furmato

    If he had been a awake he might have seen the flash. But it was the flash that woke him. It wasn’t a light visually casting forth a sudden burst, it was an internal flash, and it lit up his mind. From the deadness of sleep he was instantly aroused and wide eyes opened awake. There was not even a process of prying open eyelids or grogginess of thought. His eyes stared into the strangeness of the dark moonlit room.

    His first and most important thought was to determine what had caused this sudden demand for his conscious attention. What unseen spiritual force caused him to leave the rich deep benefits of sleep. That it was spiritual was not even doubted, for he was sure that in his sleep his mind was void of any purpose. There was nothing moving in the room, though he didn’t expect to actually see a shape floating around. So with his eyes thoughtfully scanning the room’s stillness, he dove back into his mind.

    Unlike the quiet bedroom, where there was no movement of anything, and only the occasional muffled sound of a world beyond the street he resided on, within his mind was bustling factory of turning gears and moving machinery. He marvelled that it was at full production from what seemed like a total standstill. Did it just fire up all this action, or was it building up slowly while his eyes were blinded in their slumber, waiting for the last minute to call the foreman to take notice, something was about to be produced.

    A clear single idea overpowered his senses, as though he stood atop a grated loft, overseeing the labor of a busy production floor, and then a large banner that filled the enormous room was pulled across his line of sight. He read the banner, taking in the words, which were not so much as words as they were concept, and let it have him, so that nothing else was audible or visible anymore.

    This was a message that wanted to be heard; which explained why it chose such an empty space in time to gain it’s maximum exposure, apart from all the distractions of a busy life. So he paid attention. It told him of a story that had been tossed around in his imagination over a year now, giving him a different perspective that he hadn’t considered before. He turned it over and inspected it from top to bottom, left to right, and knew that it had merit.

    Reply
    • Gary G Little

      Thomas, great description of the idea we see when we quit trying to SEE it, when we look without seeing, when we just be still. Oh hell, there are a couple of places where you need an adjective to make it “read”. It’s a great piece.

      Reply
  26. Jackie

    How wonderful, welcome to the world Remy Bunting! Congratulations to you and your family 🙂

    Reply
  27. Diane Turner

    Wow! Congratulations on the new addition! He’s beautiful!

    Reply
  28. Kiki Stamatiou

    Artistry Is Like Giving Birth
    By Kiki Stamatiou a. k. a. Joanna Maharis

    A writer/painter/composer goes through a period of using their intuitive process, in addition to using their minds to process life, both in the forms of reality and the imagination. It is a rampage of emotional fire at times, causing the cinders of the soul to emerge and rise into burning flames, festering out of control. For if they are interrupted, these artists in questions sometimes snap at their friends and loved ones when interrupted during their process of being in the zone.

    Once the creative process is lit by the match of passion, an emotional fire increases with intensity. It is this flame driving the writer/painter/composer to push through their creative process to bring forth the completion of their masterpiece. For it is their ability to tell a story either by using words, strokes of a brush, or a key struck, strummed or beaten on a given instrument. All of these art forms create pictures often compelling the viewer, observer and listener to participate in this emotional upheaval.

    When an artist of such as was mentioned can established a strong emotional connection with his audience, he has achieved what he has set out to do. Each one imbues factors of the heart, soul, spirit, and mind to compel the imagination to come alive, filled with the colors created by his artistry. For these colors live and breath through their creator.

    A true artist of this nature brings forth new, compelling ideas to move their audience forth into other worlds. Worlds often resonating with the viewers who reciprocate the feelings of passion for the spoken word, either through literature, a portrait, or a piece
    of music.

    It’s all about filling the imagination in a way the heart, mind and spirit are enabled to work together as one element, very much the way a good storyteller enables the audience to participate in the experience and share in the triumphs and tragedies of a given character in a story being told.

    If the artist cannot put himself into his own work, it would demonstrate he doesn’t care about the work of art he strives to create. If an artists doesn’t care about the given
    story or about any of the characters he creates, neither will his audience.

    When an artist can draw his audience into a story, allowing them to share in the experience through living through the eyes of a given character, it demonstrates the artist has done his job, and done it well.

    For it is the job of a writer/painter/composer to teach, as well as entertain his audience. Through a given story, man learns something about life and about himself. He takes away something new from a given story each time he reads, views, or listens to it. Therefore, he finds hidden meaning not only within the presented story, but within life
    itself.

    © Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015

    Reply

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