Last night a storm rolled in. It hit the windows with a rush of water, as if a hand in the sky turned on a spigot. I saw a few flashes of light through the blinds before drifting off into a broken sleep. I’ve had nightmares recently. The kind that wake you with a start and a stifled scream. When the nightmares don’t wake me, the flashes of light and peals of thunder from overnight storms have taken over the job. I haven’t slept this poorly since giving birth.

In a few weeks, I’ll be attending my first writer’s conference. There, I will meet with a few publishers with a proposal and sample chapters in hand. A proposal and sample chapters I have yet to finish. I feel as if I’m preparing for an impending birth, and as the time draws closer, I realize this precious life I’ve cradled inside continues to grow and knit itself together. I don’t know exactly what it will look like when it comes out. I don’t know if it will have all of it’s fingers and toes, if it will bear my likeness, or if I’ll ever feel prepared enough to usher it into this world. Hence the nightmares.

When I wrestled with the idea of committing to writing, I repeatedly dreamt I was too late–too late for the train, the appointment, the journey. I thought it was too late to realize my writing dream, but as soon as I decided to pursue it in spite of the fear, the nightmares stopped. Now, my dreams involve cars and crashes and I jerk awake just before impact. This should tell you something about my state of mind and how I feel about this book proposal. I’m a wreck.

I don’t know how to birth a book, but I imagine it’s not too different from birthing babies. I took a seed of an idea, held it long, and nurtured it well, and now the pain of holding it in is greater than the pain it takes to birth it. It may come out looking different than I expect and it might have a face only a mother could love and I might have no idea what I’ll do next, but I will labor over it regardless of all of the might’s and maybe’s. I’ll give birth to it, and hope that someday I will hold it in my arms with great joy.

What are you giving birth to these days?