I’m at the stage where I don’t really look any different. I feel different. (Oh, belieeeeeve me, I feel different, i.e. starting to feel better but still pretty much at least slightly queasy all. the. time.) I’m also at the stage (early second trimester) where I’m past the ‘holding my breath’ mentality and moving into the ‘cautious exhale’. But it’s still too soon to be feeling any of those reassuring kicks or flutters, and it’s easy to catch myself looking down at my not-yet-all-that-different stomach and thinking, Are you still there?
When that happens, I reach for my phone and play a recording I took during my last appointment with my midwife: a hummingbird-rapid but steady thump thump thump that’s– incredibly– the heartbeat of our fourth baby. I don’t usually go for book/baby or writing/pregnancy comparisons, because although everyone is different, the way I love my books and the way I love my babies = not at all the same thing. Also, I would approximately one million times rather write a book than go through all day “morning” sickness. (Although like I say, baby #4, so clearly I’m either a slow learner or insane). However in this case, I’m going to break my own rule, because listening to that little reassuring thump thump thump on my phone, it’s occurred to me that sometimes we need that kind of reassurance during the writing process, too.
I’m also in the early stages of writing a new book, the potential start to a new series. 20,000 words in, I’ve got a good start made, one I’m happy with and having fun with daily. It’s a solid enough beginning that I’m feeling pretty confident that this book isn’t just a will ‘o’ the whisp idea that’s going to die on the vine. But it’s also a bit of a crazy idea, one I’m not entirely sure it makes sense for me to be writing right now, at this point in my career. I absolutely loved Therese’s post this week, That Time Jane Friedman’s Advice Saved My Novel, because I’ve been there, too, one hundred percent. The publishing world is so changeable and uncertain. Actually, the ultimate outcome of pregnancy, though not guaranteed, is pretty much far more assured than the outcome of writing a novel. It’s so easy to give in to the moments of doubt, but so important, I’ve found, to instead tune into that beating heart of your book in progress: that tiny spark of life that made you fall in love with the idea in the first place, the certainty deep down inside you that this is a story you just have got to tell.