Many months ago, on The Creative Penn blog, I read an interview with a prolific writer who wrote a book practically every month. As part of the interview, Joanna Penn and this author talked about the common practice by some of treating their manuscript like a baby, a creative baby. They agreed that maybe for the first few books that was okay, but in order to grow as a writer, a writer needs to write, get past agonizing over each book and put it out there for others to enjoy. They need to stop thinking about their books as babies, but rather start thinking about them as employees. Get them out where they can make money.
I’ve been thinking about this concept since then. As a woman who has experienced pregnancy and given birth, the image of giving birth to my books has been a powerful one for me. Last year, I repeatedly referred to my summer writing project as my baby. I’ve yet to send this baby out into the world where it can make money. There’s a problem here. Perhaps I am too attached. Perhaps it is not ready, or perhaps I’m putting too much time and energy into this particular project when I need to just send it out into the world and see if it can stand on its own. It could be any of these. I just know that either it’s not ready, or I’m not ready, so I’m hanging onto it.
There does come a time when focusing on each book as a baby needing to be coddled and nursed into life over a nine month or more period, just doesn’t work. As I write more and put out more books, blog posts and articles, I can see how I am shifting from treating each writing project as a baby to an employee relationship. This doesn’t mean that I don’t put care and attention into each piece, but it’s my work, my ministry.
And I think I’m getting better at it all the time.
What about you? Are your books your babies, or your employees? Which image speaks to you? Or maybe there is another one that works for you. I would love to hear them!