May 15, 2011

Round 2

By Tracy Astle

During my first pregnancy I heard all manner of labor and delivery stories. It what moms do, right? Talk about pregnancy, labor and delivery? In spite of all I heard I was determined to deal well with whatever came my way. I was excited for this new experience. I had the utmost confidence in myself and my ability to handle this supreme physical and emotional challenge. (Cue Wonder Woman theme song here and picture me standing, hands on hips, chest held high, in my best super hero pose.)

By the time labor actually began I was comitted to let nature take its course, to let my body do its job without even the assistance of drugs. It's what I was designed to do, after all. It's how I was made.

I'm sure you're probably wondering what happened that made me eat my words. But I was fortunate. Things went beautifully. Only about ten hours of labor, no drugs, as uneventuful as a labor and delivery can be consideriing the wonder of it all.

I had done it. I marvelled at the splendor of my amazing mind and body. This was the most incredible thing I had every been priviledged to experience. Oh, it was hard of course, the hardest physical thing I had ever done. But I did it and I loved it.

Then came my second pregnancy. Now whole labor and delivery thing was very real to me, not just some great challenge to be conquered. And a strange thing happened. I was scared. I didn't know if I could do it. I had several lengthy conversations with myself about how I had proof that, indeed, I could do it. I had done it once before, hadn't I? So why was I feeling so insecure in my abilities? I knew I was being silly, but I couldn't seem to help myself. I did get myself straightened around before my second son was born and it all went very well again.

So, what does all this have to do with writing? Well, after a lifetime of writing in many other forms I decided to write a novel. A new and daunting challenge to be sure, but I was determined to handle whatever obstacles came up during the writing process. I was excited for this new experience. I had the utmost confidence in myself and my ability to handle this challenge. With singular focus I learned and learned and learned and wrote and wrote and wrote.

And I did it. I finished my first novel. I even like what I wrote.

Now it's time to start on my second novel and guess what? I'm scared. What if that first one was a fluke? What if I can't really do this? I'm not even sure I know how to start writing the next one. (This insecurity is especially ridiculous since my second book is a continuation of my first one. I know where I am and where I want to go in the story.) I find myself having almost the same conversations with myself as I did between my first and second children. Never thought I'd find myself here again, but I guess I know the terrain this time around. I know what I need to do - feel the fear and do it anyway.

Tell me I'm not the only one who has ever felt this way. I'd really rather not be crazy or silly or just a plain ol' wimp. Those of you who have more than one novel under your belt, I'd love to hear your words of wisdom here.


  1. Tracy, you're entirely sane...well, maybe not, since you're a writer, so let's put it another way. You're in good company, since almost every writer I know suffers from a tremendous lack of confidence when facing the writing of a second novel, or a third, or a fourth. It's just the way we're made.

  2. Yea this is common. I still think my first article ever was still my best ever go figure.

  3. I had the same fear, but made myself slog through it all the same! Well, just the first few chapters proved hard to get into, but once I gathered momentum those fears diminished--they didn't disappear entirely, I don't think they ever do, but it got easier. Plan that second novel, outline or don't, do whatever you do to psyche yourself up for writing, and do it! Otherwise I'll hunt you down. ;)

  4. Tracy--I haven't finished my first novel yet, so I don't have much advice writing-wise. (Except that I love to read your posts here. You're a great writer! You can do it!) I did want to say that I love your image of Wonder Woman at the beginning. I especially enjoy imagining her with a big ol' pregnant belly.

  5. Love your post! I said more than once that the more babies I had, the more things I worried about that could go wrong...because I was older, more experienced, and more knowledgeable. I knew more about what could go wrong by the time I had the 9th one. I wasn't clueless with the first one...but I was a lot less educated! I think the same applies to our writing. Ignorance is bliss to our ego...but deadly to our craft. I think it is very normal for you to feel the way you do! It means you are wiser...and probably a bit more humble, too. Go for it!


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