I haven’t announced my pregnancy on social media with a photograph of baby booties or me standing in a meadow holding my belly and looking dreamy. One reason for this is because after two losses, I wanted to be certain this baby was a grower. Even now, at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m still cautious about referring to my pregnant state, despite the fact it’s obvious. I acknowledge other women who would love to have a child but who struggle or who simply cannot. I think about how they feel seeing other people’s happy announcements.
When I started my blog, I wrote two posts per month. One, a book review of a mystery novel – my chosen genre of writing. Two, a post about writing relevant to the stage of my ‘writing journey’. On this journey, I’m currently writing during my pregnancy. And it’s been different to writing during my not-pregnancy.
During my not-pregnancy, a period of my life which I recall now with some difficulty, I had a writing routine of evenings after work and weekends. Over the past two years, I’ve written the first draft of my cozy mystery novel and have nearly finished the first redraft. I’ve been efficient with my blogging, with last month (August 2018) being the first month I haven’t met my self-imposed deadlines.
The writing journey highlight of this year has been reading a piece from my work-in-progress at the launch of The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge – Kali Napier’s debut novel, at Avid Reader in February. (If you haven’t read this novel yet, you absolutely must). That evening, while I was reading my work in front of Kali’s sold-out audience, I thought I was having my third miscarriage. However, the next day, my husband and I visited our obstetrician and saw (and heard) something we hadn’t before – a heartbeat. And today, many months later, I have a foot poking me in the side of my abdomen.
The Write-Off Trimester
During my first trimester of pregnancy, I felt like crap. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t vomiting and I went to work most days. I was grateful for my healthy pregnancy. But once I got home from work, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Not a single thing. Couldn’t even read a book, let alone write. Bedtime was 8pm. I accepted that during this period, I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my usual writing routine. Or any routine. Productivity – zero.
The Baby Brain Trimester
I started feeling better around 16 weeks into my pregnancy. I was eating more food and had more energy at work. During the day, I used my brain a lot for process-driven work. But something was different. “Your brain is shrinking,” my co-worker helpfully informed me. Turns out ‘baby brain’ is a legit thing. When I came home from work and tried to be creative, I’d read back over what I’d written and realise I’d made some embarrassing mistakes. Things I found I could do were editing (requires less creativity) and flash fiction (shorter bursts of creativity). I made headway on my cozy mystery using the Hemingway Editor and made sure I entered Furious Fiction with the Australian Writers’ Centre every month. I even submitted my manuscript to a few competitions. Productivity – fifty/fifty.
The Quick! Catch Up Trimester
Three weeks ago, I started maternity leave! Look at all the free time. Look at all the free time FLYING BY WHERE IS IT GOING HELP?!
Along with getting my blog back on track, I’ve made some significant changes to my cozy mystery. A few months ago, I wrote a post about writing in different points-of-view, deliberating over whether or not my story would be better told in first person or third person. And I’ve made a decision! I’m currently halfway through changing my story into first person. The main character, Sylvie, is much more present on the page. A fresh point of view is also like a fresh pair of eyes – showing me where things can be cut and hopefully, leading me towards my goal of a snappier, polished story.
I’m engaged in writing again. It appears Baby is also engaged… in my pelvis. I could go into labour any day now. I don’t know what to expect from this new chapter of my life or how much time I will have for reading and writing. Maybe not much at first. The benefits of being an unpublished writer is that I’ve only got my own deadlines to meet, so I will be kind to myself – at least for the first few months. Wish me luck!