Friday, May 04, 2018

Querying while life looms

I don't think this question has been asked before, and I may be totally off the mark in worrying about this, but it's been on my mind and I wanted to ask: is it a good idea to query while pregnant with one's first child?

I've been working a manuscript for years now and I feel as though I almost at the querying stage. My plan was to query this summer or fall. But I recently found out I'm pregnant (with my first baby) and am now worried that I'll send out queries, get responses, and they'll want revisions/ responses ASAP and what if that comes right when I go into labor or am in a new parent haze?

I know this is all super theoretical, because who knows, maybe no one will even bite. My first instinct is to say "I'll do whatever it takes, new baby or no!" but I've heard babies can be somewhat time-consuming, especially at first.

Do you think it's better to wait until the new parent-phase is over to even start querying? Or just do it, and deal with what comes after?

I'm also super worried about how having a baby is going to affect my writing time (makes me feel so selfish for even thinking it but there it is, I love my writing time, it's so important to me) so if there are other mother/writers out there I'd love to hear how they handled this at some point.

There's always a reason not to do something, particularly if that something is new, or scary.

I can think of ten reasons right now that I should go home and pet Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl, rather than tackle this rather daunting project I have staring at me. Seven of those ten reasons will be utterly compelling.

You have a very reasonable and compelling reason to hold off querying. A new baby is a life changing event, and you don't have a clue what you're getting into.


As a writer, it's your job to keep your career on-track. Things can HAPPEN that get you off track, but just being uncertain about what lies ahead isn't something that has happened. It's fear.

Fear can kill your career.
Move ahead, and deal with things when they happen, rather than worrying about them ahead of time.

I've had clients whose lives have thrown them curve balls. We've managed to navigate those storms. Sometimes it meant the author stopped working for a while. Sometimes it didn't. But we didn't stop until we had to, not cause we were afraid of what was coming.

And huzzah for the new baby. I think Reid is a lovely name!


Anonymous said...

they'll want revisions/ responses ASAP and what if that comes right when I go into labor or am in a new parent haze?

I'd like to add to QOTKU's stellar advice that you can mitigate what their expectations are with simple communication. Thus:

Dear Fabulous New Catch,

Enclosed, find my brilliant notes on your compelling but clearly still flawed masterpiece. I look forward to seeing the new version tomorrow!

Agent Good Taste

Dear Agent Good Taste,

While my book is undoubtedly my precious child, creation of my own bosom, I have a living, breathing, human child as well now. Tomorrow will be spent sleeping, crying, eating, and staring listlessly into space. Possibly, the baby will do these things, too. I will peruse your insights at my earliest convenience.

Fabulous But Ragged Author

PS, telling time when 13 hours ahead means I'll spend hours today pulling my hair out over my pitch and context paragraph, only to see a blog post for Friday. I could've saved myself the trouble by noticing the last blog post was on Thursday. Sigh.

CynthiaMc said...

When my children were small I wrote newspaper columns while waiting for them at soccer practice, at ballet, etc. When they hit middle school I worked on my writing while they did homework. In high school when their homework became more intense and they needed the computer, I switched to early morning writing before they got up.

There are times when life has happened and writing was set aside (except for my journal). I am also an actor and musician so those require time too, as well as my job that pays the bills.

What I'm saying is, roll with what happens. Once you have children, you won't have time to speculate. You'll be too busy doing. Take each moment as it comes and run with it.

Unknown said...

OP, enjoy your baby. You'll write when it's important to you. Fourteen years goes fast. Then you'll have plenty of time to write, as your little darling will ignore you like cats ignore commands. Plus, you'll have so much more book fodder after being a parent.

Kitty said...

I've heard babies can be somewhat time-consuming, especially at first.

OP, if you're thinking of postponing querying until the baby is less time-consuming, you should know that that day may never come. It depends upon the baby. I've raised two children and helped with five grands, and every single one of them was different from the others right from birth. The youngest grand is 2 and the most active one of the bunch. She rarely napped as a newborn and was a light sleeper when she did. She rarely naps now and requires constant supervision, especially since she somehow took the hinge off her bedroom door.

I'm not trying to scare you into quitting. On the contrary; I think you'll need your writing time even more after the baby is born. You may luck out and get one of those "easy" babies... just be prepared.

Sherry Howard said...

Why, yes, Reid is a great name.

Congratulations, OP, babies are the best! Write whenever a crack of time opens. You will never own your time again, but those cracks of time will be there.

Julie Weathers said...


Congratulations on the baby! What a wonderful new journey you're about to take. Diana Gabaldon had her first grandbaby not long ago. She volunteered, as any good Grandma does, to go help out for several weeks while Mama got adjusted to a new baby. BUT, she was also on a deadline to get a project done.

People asked her how she was going to juggle a new baby, helping around the house, and writing. "Well, let's be honest, how much does a new baby do those first few months besides eat, poop, and sleep?"

Plus, she's still in the habit after lo these many years of getting up at 3 am to write. It was the only quiet time she could find to write when she wrote her practice novel, The Outlander and she had three kids under the age of six and three jobs.

Hemingway tried to write every day regardless of where he was, but he had been a war correspondent. I guess that will get a person used to writing under fire so to speak. Shelby Foote couldn't write if he wasn't at home in his own little office with pen in hand. Each writer published an astonishing number of words in their lifetime. It shows there's no "right" way to do it as long as you do it.

Now is the time to get into the habit of writing every day if you don't do so already. You'll find time to do so after the baby comes without neglecting your motherly duties.

I bought a tape many many years ago by V.C. Andrews' agent, Anita Diamant. One thing on it stuck with me. Andrews had been in an accident that left her wheelchair bound and in a lot of pain the rest of her life. Nevertheless, she typed her manuspripts on a typrewriter and always turned them in flawless. Ms. Diamant didn't have much patience for people who made excuses for turning in slopply manuscripts.

There's always an excuse for why you can't do something.

Sam Hawke said...

Agents are people too, even when they're sharks. Like @luciakaku said, a quick note explaining that you're dealing with a newborn and you might be a bit slower than usual to reply does the trick! Most people understand that a) babies can be inconvenient and demanding and b) they take priority. And anyone who doesn't, you probably don't want as your agent.

And if it helps, my kids were both the 'nap for 20 minutes' types and neither of them slept a full night until they were 2 and a half. You don't want to put off querying on the assumption that in a few months you'll have all the time in the world. You'll make it work, regardless what happens! Go, woodland creature! :) Best of luck with both the querying and the small human!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yes, a new baby will take a great deal of your attention, but it is a fleeting thing. The little time spent raising that precious bundle you will never, ever get back so enjoy it.

Like Kathy said, 14 years flies. 20 years fly. And then the kid is gone, moved to New York, and those precious moments are gone forever. There will be time to write when there’s time, and a child will give you all sorts of new perspective. Do not fuss over that.

My cousin wrote a ridiculous number of books while raising her two boys so a career is possible. Do not worry overmuch. You still have time. Congratulations, OP. Your greatest journey begins now.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

OP, early on (if I could keep my own eyes open) I wrote while my first baby slept. Nap time became MY TIME to crawl back inside my head and write. Everything piled up, laundry, dishes in the sink and beds never made. Those early days of finding footing passed quickly and a routine emerged (sort of) while understanding that the hierarchy of tasks shifts often.
I was first published while when my oldest was two and my youngest an infant because I wrote around the edges of my life. I was blessed with healthy children and a husband who understood that nourishing MY mind was as important as feeding my babies.
Do not stop querying.
Do not stop writing.
Lean forward and continue to pursue that which nourishes you.

Don’t wait...or as the great and wonderful comedian of the 60s and 70s, Totie Fields said,
“The only thing she ever got from her children was hemorrhoids.”

Unknown said...

Go for it OP! Actually writing and editing are some of few things you can do while breastfeeding or with a baby sleeping on you. It will be hard to summon the mental energy, but I'm sure the interest in your manuscript would be motivating enough. Good luck!

Rakie said...

first off, congratulations! second off, speaking from experience, don't put it off until "the right time" because those right times almost never materialise - not when babies are small, or middle-sized, or even full-grown. There will always be a reason not to do it at this precise moment. Good luck!

Colin Smith said...

Opie: In addition to what's been said, I'll add that not all--indeed, not many--agents are going to be quick off the mark responding to your query. You may hear back from some within a few days. Most likely it'll be weeks or months. A lot can happen in that time.

FirstBorn comes home from college today. She's a late collegiate, so she's just finished her first year at age 24. And I remember when she was a little pre-me in the infant ICU. *sniff*. As a father of 6, I concur with my friends who have commented thus far: you're not the first to have had to manage a writing career in the midst of life-changing events. An agent worth working with will work with you. Just be sure to communicate. I don't think you need to explain yourself in your query, but if you get an offer of representation, be sure to mention in "The Call" that you've just had your first child. If an agent is unsympathetic, then don't be afraid to say, "Thanks but no thanks." My impression is most will understand and do what they can to help you balance motherhood and deadlines. But treasure your baby time. It goes way way way too quickly. :)

Congratulations to you!! :D

Karen McCoy said...

Reid is a lovely name. And Sam makes a good point.

Fun fact: The author of THE HAZEL WOOD, Melissa Albert, became pregnant after she landed her book deal, and had her baby within the same year of the book's release. Her book is still on the NYT bestseller list. Probably juggling a lot, but it can be done.

Amy Schaefer said...

Opie, I agree with the general consensus to just keep swimming. Do what you can when you can. But don’t put your writing on pause unless you don’t feel like doing it anymore. Even putting down a sentence or two can make you feel like you’re still in the game.

When my eldest was born, I would often use feeding time to write. I kept a notebook on a little table beside the nursing chair, and would use one hand for the baby and other for the pen. And even my left-hand scribbles got pretty legible after a while.

Learn how to carve a few minutes out of your day. You might not (read: won’t) get the long, uninterrupted stretches of writing time you had in your pre-baby life, but you can still write. And learning how to grab 90 seconds to get an idea down is a life skill you’ll come to cherish.

Enjoy the time with your little one. Kids are wonderful, even when they are dreadful. Good luck!

Jill Warner said...

That's exciting OP!

I've got two kids two and under right now and lemme tell you: there's no such thing as "free time" for writing. Whatever time you spend writing means that something else isn't getting done. And with little kids, there's *always* laundry, dishes, bottles to clean, yourself to shower, people to feed and so on. But it's a matter of priorities. As long as my kids are fed, clothed, and safe, then the rest of the chores can wait while I take some much needed me-time and write. It'll take some time to figure out your groove once the baby comes, but you'll figure it out (and again and again and again).

LynnRodz said...

OP, I can understand your dilemma even though I've never had a child. Don't let that stop you from progressing. Like you said, if you get crickets from agents, you have the time to work on your query and/or your manuscript at your convenience. If you get an offer, let the agent know and perhaps something could be worked out. Btw, congratulations and I agree, Reid is a beautiful name.

If you do get sidelined for awhile, that's part of life. Last year I took care of my mum for seven months. She has dementia. I thought while she was napping I could write, instead I was napping with her. I needed as much sleep as she did (up every 3 to 4 hours each night) because it is a 24/7 job. I didn't have a minute to write, work on my WIP, comment, or go on social media. My only saving grace was reading Janet's posts each day. I am scheduled to go back this summer and take care of her for another 4 months. I don't complain, it's hard, but each moment spent with her is a blessing. Enjoy your first baby and let life take care of itself.

Dena Pawling said...


I have four children. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was pregnant with my first one?

My oldest is now out of the Navy, living in Seattle, and just finishing his first year of college.

Today is my youngest's 19th birthday. [Her name is Janet, wonder if that name is as lovely as Reid?] She is also just finishing her first year of college. Plus she just started a job at Disneyland. Next year, not only will I no longer have minor children, I'll no longer have teenagers.

Of course, my own age hasn't changed in the last 10+ years =)

There were times that too much was going on in my life and I didn't write much, if at all. There were times I had to work to make the time. And there were times I had plenty of time.

I'll leave you with a personal anecdote. When I first became a lawyer, I worked as a tutor for the company that tutored me to pass the Bar exam. I taught a few classes to law students studying to pass, and I graded their practice essays. Part of the grading was marking up the essays, then recording an audio tape explaining what my marks meant, and my suggestions to the students for studying to improve in their weak areas.

I went into labor with baby #2 during Bar prep season. I brought essays to the hospital and recorded audio tapes between contractions, stopping the tape to breathe [read: pant], then recording again. My labors were LONG [18 hours average] so I read and recorded tapes for somewhere around 10 essays during labor for #2.

The nurses thought I was nuts for doing that, and I probably was.

Enjoy your baby because the time flies. But don't neglect the other areas of your life. You'll figure out what you need to do, and you'll make it happen.

J.A. Haigh said...

Hey OP,
As the mother of a now 6 and 4 yr old, I'm not that far out of the crazy infant years. While there is sooooo much less time and sleep available to you when baby materializes, you will (I'm sure) discover that Mamas are goddamn superheroes. You will unearth the power to squeeze out a thousand words in a mere 45 minute nap - because there is no greater motivator than simply having zero time.
I've published (& been paid for) more short stories since my kids were born than I ever did before. I wrote most of my 2nd novel the year my 2nd child was born. I couldn't tell you how.
But it is magic! You have nothing to fear, you will amaze yourself :)

Donnaeve said...

OP, everyone here has already said to move ahead while enjoying the wonderful gift of a child.

There are many time constraints for writers, not just babies or young children. There are full time jobs, going back to school perhaps, a household to manage, family obligations, you name it, it's there.

I battled Stage III cancer and continued to write and promote my work. You can do anything you set your mind to. You sort of figure out how when the need arises. And remember how slow the publishing world is, anyway.

OT: Y'all, I wanted to share something really special. I can't recall if I shared this with anyone out here, but THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET was chosen as Trio pick last September for the 2018 year. Trio is pairing a book with an artist and a singer/songwriter. My singer/songwriter is Pam Tillis. The song, titled The Pretty One, was just released this week. I blogged about it, and you can listen to it here:

I think it's breathtaking. She nailed the story, and the music is so haunting and lyrical. Enjoy!

Donnaeve said...

Shoot. Forgot to linky link:

The Pretty One

Brigid said...

I'm with Jill. You need time to breathe and think anyway, might as well inhale your characters and exhale a few words instead of showering or conquering Mt Laundry. Be flexible. Tip: kids are better at sharing you with pen & paper than a computer, which is why I'm hopping off now. Do what you can, give yourself grace, but have the courage to try and fail.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats, Donna! That song is amazing.

I need to hit up my cousin, Emily Scott Robinson about this. I'd love for her to pair with someone.

AJ Blythe said...

OP, babies can be like chalk and cheese. I had ones that never slept while my best friend had ones that slept all the time. And then you think as they get older you'll have more time...rather, it's safe to assume you can't predict your free time for the next 18 years or so. Write when you can and don't berate yourself when you can't. Enjoy every moment of what's to come because it is so true when they say it's over in a blink.

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations Donna! Woo hoo!

Sam Mills said...

I'm gonna go rogue and say it's a few months rather than a few years that you'll be really off-kilter. After those first completely sleep-deprived months (assuming all are happy and healthy!) it's a matter of adapting to your new normal. It won't be the writing routine you're used to, but it's possible.

I have a 10-month-old and a barely-3-year-old, so I'm in the thick of it! I learned how to write during nap time. You know those ticking clock apps that force you to binge write? You have your own now! And it felt like eternity to get there, but once each kid started sleeping through the night I felt safe staying up an hour after bedtime, too.

First baby I still had a part-time day job, so that was rough. Second one it was possible for me to stay home for a bit, so that helps (though chasing babies is way more grueling than my job ever was). So I also added one work/sanity outing: once a week I go sit in the library or coffee shop for 4-5 hours and write/edit/submit my heart out. I get out of the house (woo!) and get to do the more intense tasks I couldn't do justice during nap time.

It's a grind, but just a few years of grind till school starts.

That said!! I did delay novel querying when I had baby #2, due to the exact same worries you expressed here, but 2 kids is a different beast. In my case my novel benefited greatly from another year of improvement, BUT it sounds like you're further along than I was. :)

KariV said...

Congratulations on your coming little!

Mine are 3 and 2. And somehow life is still trucking. Honestly, when I just had the one, I wrote every day. Nap time was the best. One nap for housework, one nap for writing. I also wrote a lot when the hubs had stuff going on. If he was gone and the baby was sleeping, it was free writing time (Still is).

Number 2 killed my writing for 2 years. Juggling a non-walking "toddler" and an infant and housework and a career and writing - there are some moms who can do it. I wasn't one of them.

But the takeaway is: I'm back. The baby is 2, and I've started writing again. *Almost* every day. Nap times are still my writing time, but now that they are older, there are other ways to carve time. Right now mine are watching Curious George and have no need of me so I'm in the office writing.

Check around your community too. There are places where kids can play and mom's can get some work done. Our YMCA offers 2 hours of free childcare a day with a family membership. I drop mine off, go for a run, then sit down and write. That's been wonderful "me" time, and my kids love the Y-play.

Donnaeve said...

Karen McCoy

Wow! I just listened to her video explaining her work/how she was trying to get it out there, etc. Now I'm listening to Traveling Mercies - I believe she has the sound that would fit Trio. That said, Trio artists are not paid.

I can put her in touch with the creator/founder if you think she'd still be interested. AND - she's a NC gal - woohoo!

Sam Mills said...

My comment was already too long, but one addendum!

Nap time writing taught me how to go forward-forward-forward without looking back. I write rough drafts so quickly now! There's no time to waffle over wording, just pick up where you left off and keep going!! And everything I write this way is much more creative and emotionally resonant. Editing sucks, but it does anyway.

I read this article in The Atlantic last year about creativity and motherhood and I was like OMG I am this maze-running rat!! XD

Claire Bobrow said...

I'm reminded of this scene from the movie Shakespeare in Love:

- "Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
- So what do we do?
- Nothing. Strangely enough it all turns out well.
- How?
- I don't know. It's a mystery.

Congratulations, OP! All will be well :-) And congratulations, Donna!

Morgan Hazelwood said...

JK Rowling famously said she got it done by living in utter squalor. If you have someone to help with cleaning/laundry, you'll be fine. If not, you'll make do--assuming you decide that your writing is what you want to make your 2nd highest priority.

Best of luck in the query trenches!

Craig F said...

OP: Congrats, but do not make it an excuse to bury your other dreams. The opposite of that is the people who told me they were going to wait until they could afford children. They never did because you can never completely afford children.

Children should complement your dreams, because they are that in themselves. Make the room, it is worth it.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig F said...

And congrats to Donnaeve, I enjoyed it and know it is exciting to you. Maybe tomorrow I will also be there.

Unknown said...

Congratulations! I have two wonderful daughters myself, and while having a baby may cost you some sleep...having new life and new experiences in your life should only make you a more interesting writer. Win-win.

french sojourn said...

Reid is a really nice name, envious even.

Congrats donna.

April Mack said...

I agree with Sam Mills. It will be a hard transition. But there's hope in that you will make it through to the other side, guaranteed.

For me with each of my kids, the first month was SO HARD. I felt human again, like I could finally breathe, around the two month mark. It felt like my new normal (as in, I couldn't recall what my life used to be like without the baby) around four months. I got really good at typing one-handed at a decent speed, with either hand, during nursing.

I'd write while the baby nursed, sometimes while they slept (other times I'd sleep too). I'd stay up late to write when their nighttime wake-ups became predictable and I could judge how much much sleep (or rather, how little) I could run on the next day. My house was disgusting and we were always dressing ourselves out of the dryer, but my babies and my writing mattered to me more than my housekeeping.

In spite of all that, I still couldn't commit to much until my youngest was in preschool once a week. That's when I started getting my momentum back. I wish I had committed to once a week 4-5 hours of "me alone" time sooner, even if it meant paying a babysitter.

To everything there is a season. Give yourself lots of grace in this one and you'll be fine. You'll find your new normal.

If you can't write, read (I finally gave in to ebook readers when my hands were too busy to flip pages during nursing). Study the craft, read lots of good books—for fun AND to see how they do it—and be proud of any writing you CAN manage, even if it's only a sentence a day.

The best part of motherhood is that it made me much more efficient with my time! I can get 5x more accomplished in the same amount of time before I had kids.

Brenda said...

Congrats Donna!
Congrats OP!
You may find your writing improves with parenthood. I certainly did. I was hiding in my room one night, doing much needed edits, when a teenaged stormed into my room to grandiosely inform me that I was interfering in his life and I needed to get a hobby or something. I refrained from pointing out the irony. Instead, the next line that I wrote was:

Jess didn’t leave home. Home left Jess.

Instant catharsis, plus a new character and a plot line I didn’t know was there. BTW the only thing that Jess and my son have in common is that both of their mothers have considered selling the house and moving away from them.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Congrats OP. I don't have much to add... excellent input from everyone. Especially our Shark.


John Davis Frain said...

And the winner for Understatement of the Year goes to ...

*rips open envelope*
*stares for a moment, then turns card right-side up*

... Opie, for "I've heard babies can be somewhat time-consuming."

Don't berate yourself on things you don't finish. Enjoy everything you do. Congratulations!

MelSavransky said...

Congratulations, OP!

Two things helped me to write with infants:
1) Mini clipboards w/ notebooks-- I hung them on wall hooks EVERYWHERE (kitchen, bathroom, nursery, etc.). Sleep deprivation leads to short-term memory loss-- write it down as soon as it pops in your head!
2) Rock-n-Play rockers. You can rock the baby with your foot while you write.

Oh, and please be gentle with yourself about . . . everything. You can write when the baby naps, or nap yourself, or eat pop-tarts out of the box while playing nyan cat on your phone if that's what you can handle at the moment. You can do it, OP.

Colin Smith said...

Opie: A really important point I hope you're hearing in these comments is: YOU DO YOU. Don't think you're not a writer if you put taking care of your newborn above writing for a few weeks. Or you don't get to write every day because the child was up all night and you need to sleep. Don't be tyrannized by other people's standards. Writers come in all shapes, sizes, and life situations. Do what works for you. Experiment with the suggestions given here. But ultimately, you are your own writer, and the writing method/schedule you employ is the one that ends up with words on a page.

If you need some support for what I'm saying, grab a copy of WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers. :)

Kate Larkindale said...

You can do it. Just take it easy on yourself. Babies are far more exhausting than anyone ever tells you, and if you don't get time to write for a few weeks or months, or just don't feel like it, don't beat yourself up about it. Things do get easier, especially if you can get your baby into a regular routine. I failed at that with my first kid, but with my second, I managed to squeeze a good 60 - 90 minutes of writing time in almost every day during naps and feeding times.

C. D. Monson said...

Opie: As a mother of four, I will give it to you straight:

"There are no straight answers."

I stole moments here and there to write, but I can tell you right now that I never had time to write a novel- a story, yes, but a novel, no- until the last one was in kindergarten. Then I could write in chunks. BUT, this is how I write. Some authors are fine with five minutes a day. I need five hours.
Everyone has their own method and their own pace, so only you can answer the question on whether you can raise a newborn and a readership following at the same time. I second Colin's sentiment: ONLY YOU CAN DO YOU.

My advice: Enjoy your baby and your writing. Everything will work out, when it is supposed to, in the end. Congratulations.

Lennon Faris said...

OP, how awesome! No need to feel bad about continuing things other than kiddo. On the contrary, writing may keep you grounded and even more ready to be a good parent. Just don't feel GUILTY if you can't/ don't want to write for a while.

Very happy for you, whoever you are. Those little time suckers are pretty stellar.

Craig F said...

May the forth be with you all.

Steve Stubbs said...

Most newborns spend all their time sleeping. Your baby will start speaking to you when s/he wakes up and wants to be fed or changed.

Every woman I have spoken to was simply astounded at how much she liked being a mother. They don't find that out until the baby is born. Writing may be an occasional refuge, but it won't be your #1 interest anymore.

One thing I would urge you to do: keep a diary every day. Write down everything. If you don't have a cell phone, get one and take lots of pictures and lots of movies. You won't regret it if you do. You will regret it if you don't.

I have not seen it, but Netflix has a DVD called SAY IT WITH A SIGN. Apparently babies can communicate with sign language long before they can talk. People are social from the moment they are born. Have a chat with your tot.

Joseph S. said...

I could add an anecdote about the writer who did it all (sadly it's not me), but there are more than enough such tales here already.

I'd say Query on. Somehow life works out.

I'm so proud of Donna Everhart. Knowing Pam Tillis read my novel would excite me to no end. Having her write and perform a beautiful song about it would make my day, month, year, maybe longer.

Lennon Faris said...

Congrats to you too, Donna - lovely song. Such a fitting honor!

Elissa M said...

Here's my take on the overall issue:

Unsuccessful people: I don't know if I can do it. I better not try.
Successful people: I don't know if I can do it. I better give it a try.

After failure:

Unsuccessful people: That didn't work. I should stick to things I know I can do.
Successful people: That didn't work. I should figure out what I can change to make it work this next time. (Repeat as necessary.)

Gypmar said...


Congratulations! I don't have much wisdom to add. I affirm that you shouldn't feel guilty about whether you end up focusing on your writing significantly, not at all, or somewhere in-between. But there's no sense in ruling it out entirely now with so many variables at play.

I also will NOT tell you that you should enjoy having a baby because it goes so fast. I only had two, and it seemed like an ETERNITY until they started school. Now that they're 12 and 14 it's gone fast, but it didn't back then. The time passed positively glacially. This is not to discourage you, but to encourage you if it doesn't feel like puppies and rainbows all the time. Being a parent is hard, and it's also the best.

Sam Hawke said...

@SteveStubbs - "Most newborns spend all their time sleeping."

OP I'm going to give you a hollow laugh and a warning to never listen to anyone who tells you 'most babies/newborns/children/X year olds' do ANYTHING. Kids are all different, families are all different, you'll figure out how it works for you and what works for you. Be kind to yourself and don't go in with big expectations about any part of parenthood. You'll be great.

Karen McCoy said...

Yes!! I will DM you on Facebook about this!

Mary Kate said...

OP here. Super belated thank you on all your comments -- I didn't comment at the time because my pregnancy was not public knowledge yet. I went ahead with all your advice and started querying about a month ago. And just yesterday I got an email from an agent I SUPER want to work with saying she loved my story and wants to talk on the phone today!!!

... and today is also my due date :D Why did I just KNOW it would happen this way?!?!

Since I'm not in labor YET I'm going to take the call and hope for the best. Thanks again for all your words of wisdom!

Claire Bobrow said...

Mary Kate!!! When it rains it pours :-) So exciting on so many fronts. Congrats, and please keep all of us reef-dwellers posted on everything!

Mary Kate said...

OP here again! I just wanted to drop a note for anyone still reading comments on this post that I've signed with Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Lit and am SO thrilled to be working with her! I'm not sure I would have gone ahead with querying when I did if not for the advice on this blog, so thank you, thank you, thank you Janet and all!