Over a year’s worth of posts, and it all came down to this: Creating is tough. There’s such an intense sense of responsibility that comes with bringing something to life, with creating something from nothing, and putting it out for the world to see. Sure, it’s easy to have nothing and even fairly painless to have something–but going from one to the other, well, that’s the challenge.
So of course, writing is scary. Or at least, I thought it was. But that was before I tried my hand at creating a baby.
My husband and I approached the beginning of our family the way we handle the weekly dinner schedule, with plans and lists and mutually-agreed upon timelines. We decided to get the project going by early winter of last year, and we met our deadline easily (we’re good at that). But practical and prepared as we were, I couldn’t stop worrying. Was I eating the right things? Exercising too much, or not enough? Somehow, I could not get comfortable with the idea that a human being was developing inside of me. There was so much, it seemed, that could go horribly, horribly wrong. And to this day, I still don’t know how we managed to create such a healthy, grabby, smiley baby boy. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing ordinary people should be able to do.
Creating my son was the toughest–and most rewarding–challenge I’ve faced. And he’s not the sort of project I can leave in the drawer and forget about. As with the best kind of manuscript, I’m always reading through. And tweaking. And I still worry that I’m going to make a big mess out of the whole thing. Some days, I wonder if I will ever stop feeling afraid. But if fear is a natural part of the whole creation process, well–you can keep your sense of comfort and ease.
Nowadays, I feel strong enough to create just about anything. A short story? No problem. I made a person, for crying out loud–you think I can’t get a few words onto a page? Yes, time is harder to come by now, but I can deal with that. (Remember how good I am at making plans and meeting deadlines?)
The birth of my son has caused me to step down from my regular gig at Magnificent Nose, although I’m still posting here as a guest blogger. The time has now come to pursue a few of my other, long-buried creative goals. I have always wanted to write books for children and young adults, and in the past few months I managed to produce an outline and a solid first chapter. Fear will not get in my way any longer. I need to set a good example for son, after all. And I need to hear him one day tell his friends, “This is my mommy. She’s a writer.”
My home office is now a baby’s room, but I still like to go there to write. This way, when I start to feel the grip of fear, I can look at my son dozing peacefully in his bassinet and think, “Yeah. I did that.”
And then, I go back to writing.
Writer and educator Sara Goas is a graduate of Lycoming College, and she specializes in creating content for the web. Her site saragoas.com has more examples of her work.
Our regular Monday writer Steven E. Athay will return to the nose on 19 November.