Photo by Michael J. Lee
While that title could aptly be related to a second child (which is still a looming pressure for sure), this post is in reference to my second book, which at times feels like birthing a child too! As I felt while pregnant with Henry, I was terrified of writing my first book- I had NO idea how the process would go and if everything would end up okay. I assumed the worst (typical me) and fretted endlessly about if I was doing it right. And then it did end up MORE than okay on both fronts. I was beyond blessed with a gorgeous, magical child AND a New York Times bestseller.
So when it came to writing this new book, I was less scared of the process(as I am sure I would be should I be pregnant with another child)- I knew how it worked, what I had to do to get to the finish line, and recognized that if I had to push a deadline or an issue came up, that I would not be strung up and shot and the sky would not fall (apparently I was an anomaly in the publishing world when I turned in my first manuscript three days early). And boy did I test that, this time turning in my manuscript nearly two YEARS late. :) Granted, while I knew how to write a book- I did NOT know how to write a book while also having a small child and much busier design business. That was a bit of a learning curve! So while this book’s gestation was a bit longer, the process itself was more confident and less frantic.
But I finally did it- and when I did- the book was over 500 pages long. MUCH longer than what I was paid to write but also then I was allowed to publish in order to keep the book the same size and length (and price) as the first- which was apparently important. So I had a new hurdle to contend with– cutting 150+ pages from a book I loved. Which at first felt like having to choose which limb to amputate, but eventually became a little less painful and we ended up succeeding and creating a very full, interesting book. Yes, I wish some of the images were bigger and there are some that I had to cut I wish I didn’t have to– but I’ll be able to show a bunch of them on the blog now so there is extra content coming your way on this platform because of that.
And now that we are a week out from its release date, the REAL stress of a second book has hit. With the first, the worry was more in the beginning, and with the second, it’s more on the back end because not only do you worry about if peopler are going to like it- you worry about them comparing it to the first one. I assume perhaps this is true with a second child as well! I mean, I can’t imagine not only sharing my love for Henry with another child, but also assume it’s hard to not compare your own children either! Obviously, each will have their own strengths and personalities and you’ll love them in slightly different ways, but the same amount. Same for these two books- they are very different in style and look, and tell a much different story- but one that has the same feel and voice as the first, of course. It’s scary to put out a follow up to something successful- the stakes are so much higher and the fear much more palpable.
There are also complicated emotions tied to each of these books for me. The first one came out during my second round of IVF and I got pregnant with Henry 3 months after my tour ended. But while I was writing that book I was hoping and wishing (and trying so hard) for a child- and when I look at that book I remember the fights, the tears and hope I had. I remember fearing that I had put off having a child for too long in exchange for a book. But then it worked out- and I got my Henry and he is everything I ever hoped for. But this second book came with its own story– five traumatic pregnancy losses during the process of writing it- and the reignited fear that my work was somehow damning my fertility. I look at it and see so much sacrifice on my part to get it done, and that brings up such complicated feelings in my head and heart. No matter what happens in my path to trying to have another child, these books are a touchstone of my struggle and joy, pain and pride. I hope Henry someday looks at these books with pride that his momma did something special with her life, and that he feels happy that I wrote them. That they’ll be something he can show his own children someday. That’s the amazing thing about books, they remain long after we’re gone and are a way to leave a little bit of ourselves in the world forever.
I know some people will love this book, and others will not. That maybe it will be a best-seller and maybe it won’t. Regardless, it will definitely be my last (I mean, I’d never say never, but for right now I feel strongly about this). I want to spend my energy on other work endeavors and making more time to enjoy Henry while he’s little and still calls me his “best friend” and wants to snuggle and give me big, wet kisses in front of people. :) I know this time is short, and if it’s my only experience being a mom, I want to be a little more present. And if it’s not, I want to make the next attempt at getting pregnant as stress-free as it can be when it involves drugs and surgery and all that fun stuff. But I am so proud I accomplished this and I am grateful to the people (agents, publisher, staff, friends, family…) who believed in me and helped me complete this chapter of my life.
Thank you for going on this journey with me. It still THRILLS me to bits when I spot my book in one of your homes and I am genuinely honored that you have spent your time and money on these little tomes.
I hope that you will check out the tour schedule and stop by to help me celebrate this one- after all, I could not have done it without you.