How To Birth A Book

Some days writing is like the sweet kiss of spring.

Some days it’s a quiet room and a cup of hot coffee.

Some days, many days, it’s a brawl.

And the brawl comes hardest on the day the work will cease to belong to you.

On days like this, like today, when I am about to push a new book out into the world, the work takes on a nature all of its own.

It wants everything to change and everything to stay exactly the same.

It demands the full force of my will. It will accept nothing less than all my strength. It’s tyrannical — desperate to be free and yet it rabidly resists being born.

On this last day, in the final hours, I have no choice but to throw myself into the fray and get this damn book out.

I know I’m on the home stretch when songs like this are on my speaker so loud that the windows start shaking.

Everything has to be utterly drowned out, so that there’s nowhere for the book to hide from me.

It’s a brawl, and the book knows it.

It takes as long as it takes. That book is being born today, come hell or high water.

And then, air. It’s gone. I fight on a few beats too long, not understanding that it’s done.

The raging hours recede. The void looms up around me, and the stillness becomes a battle all of its own.

But then, far away, someone else opens the book, and a whole new song enters the world. The reader laughs, or learns, or leans in…

Gradually the volume on the music goes down. I throw the windows open, and my busted knuckles don’t look so bad in the dusky evening light.

Breath returns, and the possibility of moving on, and I know it will always be like this.

Every book is born of struggle. Every piece of art, every discovery — all great work comes out like this.

Whatever It is, It will refuse to be born until you prove to It that there is no other option.

It knows how valuable It is, and It won’t go out into the world for just anyone. It has to know that you are a relentless, implacable force that loves It ferociously and will not brook a world without It.

So if you’re brawling right now, keep going.

The world needs this thing of yours, and you are the only one who can deliver It. Peace is waiting for you on the other side.