Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting Personal

Trisha made a great point about internet safety in her last post, so in response, I'm going to share the most personal experience I can think of.

Take that, common sense.


When my husband and I were trying to conceive baby number three, I discovered failing at getting pregnant is the worst pain I've ever felt. It took us so much longer than I expected to get pregnant, and that expectation made failing at it every month much worse.

Trying to get pregnant took over my life. I counted the days religiously. I didn't take ibuprofen for months, just in case. I white-knuckle exercised, trying to lose weight before the baby came. Every month I had this hope that strangled me when I found out that yet another month had passed, and another hope had died.

The hope was crushing, and became too much to handle.

About that time, I received an email from Nanowrimo. Two years before I had tried Nano, and failed at 7,000 agonizingly slow words. I had a miserable time with it. The next year I tried again for 50,000 words, and barely wrote 3,000 words all month. 

I wasn't about to try and fail again. But I decided late that October,  I needed the escape that only comes from following around a spunky teenage girl and her love interest. I decided I would throw myself into the story, and take a much needed break from trying to get pregnant. 

I would write this story for me. I swore on the first page- breaking my own rules, I wrote make out scenes which still make me blush, and I put in illogical systems of magic. I didn't care. No one else would ever read it. This story was mine, and I wasn't sharing.

November first I wrote more than 11,000 words in six hours. There was something about Larissa's voice that felt familiar, and right. Some of my best writing yet, I've found, came out of Larissa's voice. I became obsessed with the love story. More than anything though, I found the escape I needed.

Cover made for fun through 
I found out I was pregnant on page 230, but I couldn't let the story end. FTCM had become something bigger than a personal vacation. I believed in the story, in my writing, in my characters, and I felt I owed it to them to finish. Which I did on the third to last day of November. 

FTCM, to this day, was my favorite writing experience. I would leave my desk with my heartbeat racing, and my fingers twitching, ready to get back to the keyboard. It gave me so much joy, so much freedom, so much escape. 

But most of all, it gave me my little boy.

Second drafts, querying agents, maybe even self-publishing if all that doesn't work out, is the effort I'm trying to put in to give that story it's due. I'm trying to pay it back, and pay it forward, for anyone else who needs an escape.

And that's why I write.

What I'm reading now, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
What I'm writing now, Hatched (Second Revision) Chapter Ten.


  1. That's such a great story Sheena! I had sort of the opposite problem. I would struggle with a story and almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant with each of my kids, the words just came. (I suspect it had to do with sleepless, morning-sickness induced nights.)

    1. That's amazing Trisha. I find my pregnant brain is great for coming up with ideas, but gets too tired to finish an idea into a story.

  2. That is a great story, and I'm glad you got your sweet little boy.

    I loved FTCM, so whatever you did when you were writing that story, keep doing it. :)

  3. Sheena, I really related to that. I had a few fits and starts with novels but I really devoted myself to writing in a desperate attempt to move past the pain of not having a third baby. I had always wanted three and always planned three, but after two bouts of hyperemesis gravidarum (intractable vomiting, 24/7) with no family who could help take care of the two I had if I got sick again, my husband just wouldn't. He was right, of course - that's not even counting the beatings my body took in the births! or the money situation! - but I couldn't get over it. I felt so incomplete, and like I'd failed somehow by having such awful pregnancies.

    Throwing myself into writing a novel that was full of silly romantic scenes and cliched vampire tropes helped me escape the pain long enough to get some sanity back. Even though I will always wish things had been different, it doesn't hurt nearly so much anymore.

    1. Oh Sarah. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you found writing to help, same way I did. We have matching pain. We should get tattoos.


  4. Wow, what a story. Thanks for sharing, Sheena. What a prize you got in that sweet little boy of yours!

    So, when do I get to read Funny Tragic Crazy Magic?

    1. :)... tell you what, you send me a letter, and I'll send you ftcm.


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