Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Mom's evolution into Author

I never dreamed I’d be an author.

I never dreamed I’d be a ‘mommy blogger’.

I never dreamed I’d have 4,700 followers on Twitter, one of them being @MarthaStewart (?!)

Actually that’s not strictly true, because I did plan to write a book, but a children’s picture book, you know the kind with 2 sentences per page the length of a single blog post. I still will write this book. In fact I have written this book, but I’m building up to the hard part of illustrating it. If I procrastinate long enough perhaps my daughter will illustrate it for me.

So it’s quite amazing to me that I can now state ‘author’ as my occupation. I’m filling in all sorts of application forms just for the kick of it. Yet even though I can leaf through the pages of the book I (half-)wrote, it still seems like a dream. Someone pinch me, please. Ow, not that hard!

One thing is for certain: I would never have done it on my own. Fate meant that I found the perfect co-author in Erica Wells. We make the perfect partnership not only because we are the best of friends, but because we have such different personalities. Erica is an ideas person, a go-getter and a born saleswoman, oozing with enthusiasm and positivity. I’m the glass half empty type with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I’m a doer who likes to be given tasks. I like to beaver away behind the scenes and shy away from the spotlight. We frequently marvel at how fortunate we are to have forged the perfect partnership for our project.

Most conceptions are enjoyable. And so it was for The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, albeit a little unorthodox as it took place in a crowded Vancouver Indian restaurant and involved 2 women. When Erica threw the idea of collaborating on a parenting book on the table I was skeptical (as I always am); unsure whether I had it in me to write half a proper, adult, full-length book. But the idea quickly blossomed and I hunkered down and found writing was both an enjoyable and therapeutic process. I had struggled with the first year of motherhood and writing about it helped me a lot.

Having a baby was easily the biggest lifestyle change I have experienced. It was as if I’d entered a whole new world, without a map, guidebook or phrasebook. Luckily, after only a few weeks adrift in ‘Baby World’, I was lucky to find some fellow castaways and soon built up a lifesaving band of ‘Mommy’ friends. Chatting with this group I discovered a whole lot more truthful and helpful info than I did reading the typical baby book. The group was soon discussing the nitty-gritty about how difficult breastfeeding really is and how explosive baby poo can be; sharing tales of vaporized sex drives; admitting that it’s fairly common to pee your pants at this stage postpartum. Quite often it’s not an answer to a problem that brings relief, but simply knowing that what’s happening is normal; other moms have been there. It makes you feel a whole heap better to have a comrade and being able to laugh about your woes with other moms might just save your sanity.

Our aim with The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms was to get these ‘no one told me’ topics out in the open. It’s a practical, helpful and humorous survival guide covering the things you need to know but no one ever tells you. We want to reassure and appeal to moms feeling low or lonely and raise a smile from the reader even through the pain of chafed nipples; regardless of the fact that she can’t sit down except on a doughnut cushion; even when she hasn’t slept more than four hours in the last forty-eight.

Erica and I embarked on this venture way back in September 2006, and it wasn’t until March 2009 that we finally signed contracts with John Wiley & Sons, Canada to start the publishing process, so it was a l-o-n-g pregnancy. The labour was a bit of a marathon too, but finally in April 2010 we were celebrating having a published book on bookstore shelves. We headed straight to the bookstores armed with cameras to take photos of our new arrival. I can’t describe the feeling of holding your own book in your hands for the first time.

Lorraine Regel is the co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, now available in bookstores across Canada and the US and on, and
Lorraine and Erica blog at
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