Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bear With Me: I Have a Point

More than eleven years ago I found out I was going to have my first baby. It was the most incredible news ever; a surprise only in that we had wanted this for so long, and nearly given up that it could happen.

For eight months I prepared in the way nearly every new expectant first-time mom prepares. I bought the books. I went to classes. I learned to breathe the right way and visualize through the pain. I read the book cover to cover and subscribed to magazines. I set up a birth plan.

In short, I was well-informed.

And then, 28 hours after heavy labor started, my doctor informed me plan A was not working.


"There is a baby inside me. I want to get it out. This is plan A. What the heck is plan B???"

In a matter of minutes I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, interns, machines and drugs and wheeled into the operating room where plan B was enacted. A c-section in which they cut that baby out.

The end result: pretty much the same as plan A.

The point is? I had in my head the way the birth of my child should be. There was a plan: the traditional, time-honored way of having a baby. A very specific journey to take to get that beautiful baby boy. But in the end, just because I took a different path didn't mean I had anything less than that perfect beautiful boy.

And frankly, when it came to the second and third children, I chose plan B: the more direct, less painful, faster way to the end result. Hey, I'm no martyr. I was given the option and I grabbed it!

I've been thinking about this a lot in regards to publishing. In short, I want to be published. I want to see my manuscript, my baby, on a bookshelf. I want to see it in someone else's hands in something more than just a ream of loose leaf pages hot from my own personal printer. I want to have a real book.

And in all the planning, I've only been looking at plan A. Write the book. Query the book. Get an agent. Submit to editors. Find a publisher. Get printed.

But the truth of the matter is that this is only one of many options.

On the Writers of 4 Corners blog, I outlined the main options in a new post. Not that I'm ready to head down another path at the moment, but you never know. Things are changing so fast in this industry. At some point, we all may have to adapt and switch gears.

It's never bad to know what plan B is. You know. Just in case.


  1. I love this post.

    I spent months perfecting my birth plan. I didn't even give it to the nurses. :D

    There should always be a Plan B because we cannot predict the future. We cannot bank on Plan A working. Good for you - whatever decision you make in the future.

  2. I didn't really have a birthing plan with my first. And I don't right now. Just want the baby out and healthy-whichever (most painless) way that means. Maybe that's why I'm such a touch-and-go writer. I need a PLAN.

  3. My plan is to try the traditional route, to get an agent, get published, etc. If that doesn't work, then I'll self publish (publish on demand).

    That's if I ever complete the thing. :)

  4. Sounds like you had the same experience as me, expect with Baby #2 I tried Plan A again and still had to go to Plan B. With Baby #2 I went straight to plan B.

    Just goes to show you have to roll with the punches and adjust your strategy.

  5. Yeah, maybe being able to adjust is the most important thing right now in this crazy business.

    If we're still going with the birth analogy... My kids came out so fast it was almost scary. As in, they didn't gestate as long as they were expected to, and the births were quick and intense. At least I can't say that with my books. They are taking their sweet old time getting out into the world. Maybe in the long run, taking so long to get published is okay. Maybe I'll be even better prepared for whatever I'm in for.

  6. Tying the birth of a baby with the birth of a book so makes sense. Neither promise you an easy route and you have to learn to make quick decisions and toss out one plan for another.

  7. As the non-writer on this blog, it is hard for me to even pretend to really understand the various routes for bringing your works to the world. But, I do feel that I can comment on the more general point about plans. It is an issue that I have been focused on for the past 3+ months. I reminded myself multiple times a day by my password at work (I just had to change it). My password was Prov19:21. To save you from looking it up - "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

  8. thanks for the comments, all! I think as writers we are all inherently stubborn, which is a good thing. Except, you know, where it's not.


    Tony - as always, I appreciate your non-writer view! Sometimes we are all so close to this we can't see straight. I love your reminder that our ways are not always God's. And that if we just let go a little, God works big things.

    Yeah, I got all of that out of your comment! :)