On Saturday, April 11 at 6:49 am, my wife gave birth to our second son, Remington Seth Eugene Bunting—or 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.
A writer/painter/composer is in the midst of labor over their masterpiece. Describe their thought process using descriptive detail.