When my baby was nearly eleven weeks old, she started rolling from her tummy onto her back, and I was very impressed and proud. Recently, at three and a half months, she’s started rolling from her back onto her tummy. Again, I am impressed and proud.
What’s frustrating, though, is that now, when I lay her down on her play mat, she immediately rolls over and then starts to cry because she’s on her tummy and she doesn’t like it.
“Roll back over,” I tell her. “I know you know how. I’ve captured you doing it on video.”
But for some reason she can’t remember this previously-learned skill. And she’s upset about it.
The other day I was doing some final polishes on my novel in preparation to start querying agents. As I was reading over the manuscript I began to wonder, how did I ever create this story in the first place?
I developed the idea for the novel a little over a year ago and wrote the first draft last spring, but I seem to have forgotten how I did it. Sometimes it feels like I’m revising someone else’s work.
Now that I’m finishing up this project, it’s time to start something new. Time to switch from revising to creating. Time to start rolling the other way.
If I can only remember how.
Nap time with the baby has been a challenge these past few days. When I put her in her crib, half the time she immediately flips onto her tummy and then starts to cry. Yesterday I had to walk her around the neighborhood in her stroller for over and hour because that was the only way I could get her to take an afternoon nap.
Paul and I wonder if we should leave her on her tummy to struggle and cry. Maybe, if she gets frustrated enough, she’ll remember how to do it.
Or, maybe, we just have to be patient and give her time.
Normally, when I finish with one writing project, I rush to start something new; I’m in a panic not to waste time. But having a baby has made me a bit more relaxed. It’s a successful day if I manage to get dressed and go grocery shopping. So if a day goes by when I don’t work on writing, it’s not the end of the world.
Still, there is a part of me that worries — what if I’ve lost this previously-learned skill, this ability to create fiction? I worry that this time I won’t be able to write another novel.
While walking the baby around the neighborhood the other day, an idea for a novel popped into my head. That’s how ideas usually arrive. You can’t force yourself to have one; they appear out of the blue, usually when you’re doing something unrelated to writing.
The idea has gotten me thinking, and I can feel the gears in my brain shifting from revision mode to creation mode. I haven’t forgotten how to write, I just haven’t done it in a while.
I’m not in a hurry, but I’m sure soon enough, I’ll get rolling on a new novel.