Books are not Babies

1) Would you sell your child?

2) Would you hand your child over to complete strangers?

3) Would you re-vision your child?

4) Would you put your child in a drawer and decide it was never worth seeing the light of day?

I’m really hoping you said no to every one of these questions.

My point is a book is not a baby. It is not a living miniature person with a soul. It is a piece of artwork that came from your soul and mind.

It is a creative endeavor that you are attempting to make a marketable product.

It may have felt like excruciating labor pains to bring it into this world, but it is not a sentient being.

A book is not a baby. Your book is not your child.

Saying, “My Book is Not a Baby” is the first step to being able to objectively edit and revise your work. To listening to and accepting feedback. To putting your ego aside and creating the best artistic endeavor you possibly can.

(Blog Note: I have a hard deadline to finish revisions on my YA to submit to editors. I will be posting and responding to all comments, but for the next week or so, I have to curtail my blog reading and social networking. I will miss reading everyone’s blogs, but I have to have the hard copies ready to send out on March 20th.)

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32 Responses to Books are not Babies

  1. Maggie says:

    It is very tempting to make the book = baby comparison, but you’re right; you have to let go of your work before you can send it out into the world, and that means treating it as a work of art, not a child.

    • I think as you are drafting it, that comparison is fine. It certainly feels like a child that you nurture and sustain. But the second you decide to try to sell it and show it to the world, that comparison has to stop. Otherwise, you’ll never admit there are problems that need fixing. It will remain your perfect baby. No one ever admits to having an ugly baby. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Cat Forsley says:

    WOW KOURTNEY !!!!!!!
    PASSION ………….
    AND I SAY NO TO ALL THAT …….

    ART IS DIFFERENT ————–
    GOOD FOR YOU ——-
    IMPASSIONED YOU ARE XO
    GOOD LUCK WITH ALL YOUR WORK AHEAD
    WILL MISS U HERE —- BUT CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR HOW IT ALL WENT –
    GODSPEED ๐Ÿ™‚ XO
    C

    • Catherine, I will be here all next week, I just have to curtail reading the 100 blogs I normally keep up on. ๐Ÿ™‚ My eyes started twitching and aching this week and I have to scale back the computer screen time.

      It just struck me as one of those things we say that really isn’t helpful to us. I used to say it all the time. And I really think it hindered my ability to edit and rip my own work apart. Who can rip a baby apart?

      Thanks for the support!

      Kourtney

      • Cat Forsley says:

        ALWAYS –
        DON’T HURT YOUR EYES PLEASE ………
        ๐Ÿ™
        DO NOT STRAIN ……….
        I KNOW YOU WEAR GLASSES AND YOU KNOW I AM BLIND .
        NOT FULLY – BUT 20/400
        PLS TAKE CARE OF THOSE WISE EYES OF YOURS …….

        XO

  3. themadgayman says:

    First off, I absolutely agree with your sentiment. I know our books can be seen as our children. I consider them an extension of myself. At the same time, I want to “share the load” as so it were. I want people to take on these journeys and enjoy themselves. So if I give for free, or if I have to revise, etc, I’m willing to do it.

    Secondly, I wish you the best of luck on your revisions. FEEL ENJOY!

    • Our writing is definitely an extension of ourself, but the second we want to make money doing it, we have to begin treating it as a product we created. We have to beta test it and work out the kinks before we bring it to market. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your support. I got the opportunity to meet a few editors at the SCBWI conference in January and they allowed us to submit to them. But it has to be within 60 days of the conference. My first real deadline with writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • themadgayman says:

        Sounds exciting. I’m thinking of working for an online company that contracts writing work out to various people. I figured it would help me get used to deadlines and whatnot. Plus, I get to make a little money and I get to do it being a writer!

        • I am pretty excited. I mean it’s kinda like the lotto. The chance of getting an editor’s interest is so slim, but at least I can try. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s a great idea. Doing something you love and getting paid is the best way to work. And deadlines are so important for when we get our agents and book contracts. Very smart decisions! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. klynwurth says:

    Kourtney, I love this post. I know you’re busy, so don’t respond. I want to wish you well on meeting your deadline. How exciting…go write it there.

    • K. Lyn, I will always respond to comments here. I promise. Unless I’m in a coma or locked in a cabin without internet or something that dire. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just have to scale back on reading all the blogs I follow next week because my eyes are getting strained from all the computer time.

      Thanks so much for the well wishes! I’m working through my last 20 pages today. Then i re-edit the last sixty, then the last one-hundred. Then I got through the entire manuscript one more time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hilarious, Kourtney. I admit, I am guilty of comparing my work and novels to motherhood and infants. When I finished my first novel, my mom said, “You should rest. You just birthed a novel!”

    • Thanks, August. I am as big a sinner as the next writer when it comes to this analogy. I agree with your mom completely that writing a novel is like birthing a child. You are in the creation phase. But when we move on to editing and revision and trying to pitch it, then it has to become a product in our mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 4amWriter says:

    Here, here! Great reminder to those of us who have a hard time letting go with anything.

    I have, though, thought of a novel as a baby you are raising and nurturing into adulthood and sending out into the big world to live its own life. With pride, you watch it grow and prosper, and you eventually get to say, “I did that. I had a hand in that. And I’m ready to do it again.”

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck with your revisions.

    • Thanks Kathryn! I have had the same feelings and thoughts too. But I think they have to transition to make it a successful product in publishing. I was too attached to mine and it took so long to truly hear feedback and be able to accept and incorporate it. I wished I had been able to get emotional distance at an earlier stage. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks, it’s really a re-visioning of the entire book. I have cut 7K words so far and beefed up the central subplots and cut some dangling threads.

  7. crubin says:

    Good luck with your final revisions. We will “see” you when you resurface. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jenny says:

    Well said. The moment you can finally let go of your literary ‘baby’, the better off you’ll be.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    My gosh, my characters would kick me from here to the moon and back if I called their books “my children!” They’re just having me write down what they tell me!

    Good luck with the revisions, and don’t forget to give your eyes a break!

    • That’s an awesome way to think of it JM!

      Thanks. I did some revising and then went out to dinner with family. My eyes are feeling a tad better. No more twitching at least. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Pete Denton says:

    Well said. It is helpful to remember that when editing and I try to have that approach ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I completely agree. A novel is NOT a baby! Good luck with your revisions and see you on the other side x

    • Thanks Sally! You would know best being that you’ve got an actual bundle of joy at home. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much! My eyes are starting to function normally again. Lesson learned. Sometimes you have to curtail online time when revision deadlines are looming.

  12. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    I don’t have many books or kids. Both are too hard to keep. Lol.

  13. mj monaghan says:

    Very well said, Kourtney! We will miss you, but you have important work to do and totally understand!

    All the best to you on your “non-baby.”

    • Thanks MJ! I do miss reading blogs. But the eye strain got to be too much. I’ve turned on every light in my room, but I have to keep taking breaks from my laptop. LOL. I’m hoping this non-baby is a vast improvement over the last version. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Pingback: Write. Nurture. Repeat? « 4amWriter

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