As my daughter writhed on the floor of a public bathroom and I practically foamed at the mouth in an attempt to yell at her quietly, it got me thinking. Potty training is really similar to writing a book. Let me explain...
We often take two steps forward only to take one giant leap back.
Potty Training...Dry pull-ups for three nights in a row in addition to naps! M&Ms and stickers all around! Only to be followed by four accidents within an hour directly after that third dry night. That's a lot of poopy Dora panties, people.
And writing...We have a plot! We have characters! We have 20,000 junky words we must delete before starting again. That's just a lot of poop. Period.
You're overcome with an intense fear of leaving the house.
Potty Training...Do I really want to explain to the librarian the source of that wet spot near the board books? How will I ever go to Target again after my child brings a whole new meaning to the "clean up in aisle 10" announcement? You mean I have to pack three changes of clothes, numerous plastic bags and a portable potty seat my sisters will make fun of me for buying because I'm afraid of the germs in public bathrooms?
And writing...I'm almost done with this chapter, then I'll go and brush my teeth and maybe shower. I only have a little more research to do and then I'll buy groceries. I'll refresh my e-mail for another half hour and then I'll clean the house. Wait, it's Thursday already and all I've done is dick around on the internet and write 1,000 words!?! $%&*.
When the going gets tough, you want to quit.
Potty Training...As opposed to feeling sad or embarrassed after accidents, your child seems especially excited to pick out new underwear. Ask yourself for the millionth time why you didn't just buy boring, white underwear as opposed to Minnie, Elmo and Princesses.
And writing...You've written a chapter you think is especially engaging or exciting or perfect in every way. Writing partner or beta informs you this is your worst chapter to date. You wonder whether you should consider adding Minnie, Elmo AND Princesses. I mean, it couldn't hurt...
Oh what a thankless, thankless job.
Potty Training...As the washer is running for the tenth time and you've scrubbed the same spot in the playroom for the eleventh, she decides to use the potty right when her dad gets home from work eliciting from him the whole, "This potty training thing isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be!" line.
And writing...As the dishes pile in the sink, you're on day three of your favorite black yoga pants and you haven't had a decent meal since Thanksgiving, your husband rolls home from work and asks, "When are you supposed to get that advance check?"
It's a slooooooow process.
Potty Training...You've visited the same public restroom four times within the hour as child squeaks out a few drops of something or other and seconds later asks to do the same all over again and you can't possibly say no because the second you do, more pee than you've ever seen in your life will be dribbling down that tiny two-year-old's leg.
And writing...No, our book will not be available this Christmas, yes, it's a slow process. No, the second one won't come out a few months after the first, yes, they take time to edit. No, we haven't written all the books in the series, yes, they take a while to write.
So, the moral of the story is that the next time you're stuck on a tough chapter or constantly refreshing your e-mail waiting for responses from agents or editors, remember it could be worse. You could be potty training your 2-year-old at the same time. Either way things are guaranteed to get messy.
If you're in the mood for some good old fashioned cyberstalking today check out our guest post on uber famous author Kimberly Derting's blog AND our interview with the FABULOUS Jen Daiker. We kind of feel like it's raining awesome today.