By Rondi Bauer Olson
I had so much fun with my first baby. I dressed him up in the cutest outfits, played with his baby toys while he drooled on them, and took enough pictures to fill multiple scrapbooks. Then, when he was twenty-two months old, I had twins. Three boys under two years old. Playing mommie stopped being fun. I never slept for more than an hour or two at a time. I was too busy feeding and cleaning to play. I know I took rolls of pictures, but over twenty years later, I’m still not sure where most of them are. There were many days I didn’t think caring for the kids was ever going to get easier.
Writing my first book was lots of fun, too. I loved my many point-of-view characters, pages of description, and rabbit-hole plotlines. Even after 140,000 words, I didn’t want to stop! My book would be the first in a trilogy. Then I got my first professional critique, and I learned about things like story structure, pacing, and world building. Writing stopped being so much fun. In fact, it was a lot of hard work. Chapters stalled. I had difficulty finishing paragraphs. I couldn’t write, at least not anything worth reading, and I dreaded sitting at my computer. I hated how difficult the writing process was.
Well, I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened with my three babies. They grew up, along with the little sister who came along a few years after them. I couldn’t have imagined it when they were all crying at once, sometimes me along with them, but we shared many wonderful memories, and continue to do so.
Looking back, I can see how my writing journey wasn’t much different from my parenting one. I struggled for many years, but I didn’t stop. Slowly the words came, then the sentences, and while many parts of writing still aren’t second nature to me, I’m having to think about process less and less. I can say writing now is almost as fun as it was when I typed my first manuscript, only when I’m done it’s a lot more readable.
So how is your writing going? Are your efforts a wailing infant, disobedient toddler, or college graduate? Don’t be discouraged if some time has gone by and you haven’t finaled in a contest, or landed an agent. If writing is your calling and passion, and you are committed to learning, your work will get better, at your pace, not anyone else’s, and it will get fun again.
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader, writer, and animal wrangler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, All Things Now Living, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest and is available at major online retailers. Visit Rondi at: www.rondiolson.com, or www.7thdaughter.com.