Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Babies and Books and Beginnings, Oh My!



You can never go wrong with a little Wizard of Oz.

It's serendipitous that "Beginnings" is the theme of the month for my first time blogging at YAOTL. No brainer, right? I should hit this one out of the park.

I've been thinking about beginnings a lot lately, anyway. I always do around this time of year, mainly because as a student and later as a community college English teacher my years have always been organized around the school calendar, so I think of late August/early September as the real beginning of the year, even though my own birthday is in January, so you'd think I'd have more of a pro-January bias. 

This is the first year in a long time...wait, in ever—my mom, also a teacher, had me in some kind of school from the beginning—that I haven't been going back to school.

Instead, I'm having a baby (due September 15) and handling the release of my debut novel, a YA historical fiction titled The Last Sister (releasing October 15). You can't get much closer to beginning than a new baby and a new book. Except for all the hard work of pregnancy and writing, revising, and editing that came before, of course, which I guess supports the old cliché that every beginning is also an end.



I'm also querying a new (and totally different) novel, so it's time for a new beginning for that project, as well.

It's no secret that beginnings can be scary. In both my writing and my personal life, I often struggle with procrastination, with getting started, because I'm scared I won't be successful at whatever it is I set out to do. I'll think about a writing project for days (weeks, years, whatever) before starting. I'll think of a million organizational tasks that need to be completed before I can possibly work. 

I've gotten raised eyebrows from more than a few people about the baby/book debuts being so close together, but in a weird way, it's perfect timing for me. You know how I feel about both of them? Excited, apprehensive, terrified, thrilled. You know how I feel about the project I'm querying? Excited, apprehensive, terrified, thrilled. 

The thing that grabs us at the beginning of a story is the same thing that grabs us in life. When we open to the first page of a new book we don't know what's going to happen. That's how I feel about all these beginnings: I don't know what's going to happen. That's really scary. And also really exciting, because how boring would it be if I knew exactly what was going to happen? I might be less terrified, but I'd also be less thrilled.

I'll tell you something else about having a first baby and releasing a first novel at the same time: I don't know what I'm doing with either one, but both of them arriving together means that they conveniently distract me from each other so I can't get too obsessed (read: totally crazy) with either one.

What's just beginning for you this fall? How are you feeling about it?

7 comments:

  1. Congratulations on both your achievements! What amazing experience!

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  2. What an exciting time for you! I've always said that waiting for your first novel to launch is a bit like having a baby and here you are experiencing both magical things at once! Congratulations and best wishes!

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  3. Thanks so much, everyone! Jen, doing both things at once has been such an enlightening experience. I'm finding there are so many emotional--and even physical--similarities. Like here at the end--I kinda just want them both out in the world because I feel like they're ready. And I am definitely ready!

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  4. Yes! Congrats on both, Courtney! And congrats on the STARRED Kirkus review for THE LAST SISTER. Quite an achievement.

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  5. I was just talking yesterday with some friends about writing, and we agreed that writing is like parenting: really hard work you absolutely love! As a writer, you're totally prepared to be a mother. I'm thrilled and excited for you too as you embark on these new adventures, and I admire your courage in tackling them both at once! :)

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