Keith MacKenzie 26 letters. A million and more words. No limit to stories.

Giving birth to book and baby

NaNoWriMo is now done and over with for another year. Thousands of people the world over are rejoicing over their successful advent to the magic number of 50,000 words in the month of November, and thousands more are drowning their failures in a bottle of cheap wine with their writer friends.

And me? I’m somewhat in between. If you check out my NaNoWriMo profile, you’ll find that on Day 22 of the 30-day quest, I had just topped 30,000 words. This means I had to write 20,000 words in the remaining eight days of the quest. Did it happen? Did I reach the pinnacle of this literary quest?

Sort of. Not really.

Actually, I did come pretty close. I surged like a madman hopped up on inspiration potion, topping 3,000 words a day for many of the remaining eight days, and as I put my pen down on Day 28, I was at a very comfortable 46,650 words. This meant I only had to write some 1,700 words for each of the last two days and I would reach my goal.

Easy inhale, easy exhale, right?

Not quite. At the crack of dawn on Nov. 29, my heavily pregnant wife’s water broke.

And right then and there – as I pulled on my pants in the face of drama that I had previously only seen in bad chick-lit films – the first thing on my mind was not the fact that I would not reach 50,000 words this year. It was the fact that I would become a daddy anytime in the next 24 hours.

In fact, about 31 chaotic hours later, I held my new baby boy in my arms, tears in my eyes and bewilderment in my brain. My quest for 50,000 words in one month had failed, but I really didn’t care. I had accomplished something else far greater than this.

And I probably had the best excuse in the world for not reaching my goal.

About 15 years ago, when I was just a younger malcontent, I finished writing my first book while running my little coffee kiosk in the parking lot of a co-op centre in the Saanich Peninsula just north of Victoria, B.C. I put my pen down and looked up at the store manager who worked in the co-op grocery store next to my kiosk. He had just stopped by to pick up his daily mocha, and when he asked how I was doing, I said these words: “I’ve just given birth.”

The look on his face was one of puzzlement. What the hell did I mean, he asked?

“Oh, I just gave birth to a new book.”

Yes, I was a proud daddy at that point too. A daddy to a new book.

Now, being a daddy to a new boy certainly trumps any little book production. However, completing a first book is a pretty great feeling. It’s a feeling of self-affirmation and self-validation. It’s that feeling that you have when you know you’ve done something that wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t exist.

What did you feel when you finished your book? Write about your own experiences in the comments below.

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About

Four books in the fire. Dozens of short stories fluttering about. Mission: To get the word out.

One Response to “Giving birth to book and baby”

  • You’re right, that is the best excuse for not finishing NaNoWriMo. Congratulations on your little boy. I hope the family is doing well!