Writing During My Pregnancy

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!

14 thoughts on “Writing During My Pregnancy

  1. Congratulations, Alyssa! Not long to go now! I hope the delivery runs smoothly, and I can’t wait to see some pics of Bub 💕
    I love the way you’ve described pregnancy in relation to writing. I wasn’t writing during my pregnancies eons ago, but I can well & truly see it happen as you’ve described! The tiredness, fuzzy brain (I’ve been known to iron my bump, and put away the rice in the cutlery drawer…), and the feet poking – oh, good memories (my daughter was particulary rough when it came to those jabs 😆).
    I’m looking forward to your posts on writing as a new mother – a whole other experience again! Best wishes xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh Alyssa biggest congratulations! Hope the birth goes smoothly for you 🙂

    Exciting that you’ve changed to first person! Are you finding it easier to write from this point of view? Can’t wait to read it. Best of luck with everything x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A big congratulations, Alyssa! Pregnancy is a time of immense change as you prepare for all the challenges (and joys!) ahead. I can completely relate to your pregnancy/ writing journey as I recall with my daughter (now 3) that I was obsessed with working on my manuscript when i went on maternity leave in the few weeks before my due date. It must be something about that impending deadline! Of course, I had no inclination to write for the following 10 months… but I do hope that doesn’t happen to you!
    I had a pregnancy loss this year too, so I’m sorry to hear you’ve also had this experience 😦 It takes quite the emotional toll. I do wish you all the best with a quick and safe delivery and lots of happiness ahead. Take care of yourself and enjoy these last couple of weeks of ‘me’ time! Lauren x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Lauren. Did you meet your manuscript deadline before your baby due date? I’m interested that you had no inclination to write for the following 10 months. I hope that I will still write, but it’s so hard to say, isn’t it? I’m very sorry about your pregnancy loss – I know there is nothing anything can say to ease any of that pain. Thinking of you and wishing you the best with your writing and all future plans. XX

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Alyssa 🙂
        Yeah I did get my draft down and an early edit before my baby arrived. I was lucky enough to have 15 mths maternity leave and I’d fantasised about all the writing I would get done! Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen for me! It wasn’t until my daughter was 10mths and more mobile (and therefore a little less dependent) that some space in my mind freed up to think about doing something for myself. Then I just became obsessed! It was weird. It could have been because i then had the deadline of doing something ‘serious’ with my writing before i returned to work. That’s when i enrolled in an editing workshop, joined a writer’s group and did my first proper round of submissions. Albeit that manuscript went nowhere… but writing is a wonderful creative outlet in motherhood! And once you get back underway, you’ll probably find you’re a far more productive writer than ever before. When time is of the essence you become more focussed. Best of luck with everything xx

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I know you’ve had the baby now (yay) but I missed this post when it came out – late to the party! I’ve loved watching your writing journey and can relate to so much of it. I’ve had two losses and I know the fear of another loss all too well. At 32 weeks and loads of movement, I’m still tentative and worried.

    But in terms of the writing, yes, it will be ebbs and flows for a while now. I actually did the opposite to you and changed my WIP from first to third in the weeks leading up to my first birth. It’s amazing how productive we can be while waiting for a baby. I suspect not so much this time around for me with a toddler running around. I don’t think I properly got back into my writing until bubs was about 8 months, and I attended the Fiona McIntosh Masterclass – it certainly gave me a kick up the bum and now I’ve submitted to a publisher. So, while things will probably take a little longer, and routines will be difficult to establish (writing and child rearing) it does eventually come back. Enjoy your precious moments with your little one. X

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you have also experienced loss, Kirsty. I don’t think it’s possible to not worry following those experiences. It also appears that it doesn’t end once you have the baby as I’m constantly checking Alexander every time he makes the slightest noise!

      What discoveries did you make changing your WIP from first to third person? I’m hoping to still find little cracks of time in each day to make room for writing but I can definitely understand it would be much more difficult with a toddler and a newborn. I’m in awe of mothers with more than one child at the moment! All the very best with your pregnancy. I am sure everything will go magnificently and I look forward to hearing the happy news of the arrival of your healthy baby, soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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