Last night I shot my children.
I loaded my Nerf guns, pulled down my goggles and declared war. For almost an hour, all my boys (DH included) and I shot up the house and each other.
I know, some of you are gasping, “My children will never play with guns.”
Here’s the confession. Once upon a time, I said the same thing. Before my oldest was born, I was determined that we would not have play guns in the house.
Funny thing about parenthood: it’s a lot of trial and error and sometimes things don’t turn out how we planned.
When Oldest, at the mere age of 13 months, bit his toast, pointed it at the dog and went, “Phew! Phew!”, I knew this particular battle was lost.
You can’t fight imagination and creativity. So I did what all good moms do next. Modified my rules. Guns, but no pointing them at people. Walls, monsters, stuffed animals. No people. Period.
For the most part, that worked well. I learned a valuable lesson from my eldest: sometimes it’s okay to rewrite.
There has been a lot of talk on forums and blogs about rewriting to please an agent/editor that may or may not already rep you. Some writers are willing to take every suggestion as gospel and rework their entire manuscripts without considering the impact on them or their story. Others take feedback into consideration and use what works for them and their stories. And still others refuse to change their manuscripts based on another perspective.
What I disliked about the idea of guns, was the perpetuation of violence. Some may say I forfeited my ideals when I said, “Monsters not people.” But I’m a realist. If, at 13 months old, Eldest was firing his Toast Pistol, his Lego Ooozie and his Lincoln Log Shotgun, I didn’t have a prayer of keeping him from this boyhood need.
So, I compromised. I kept my value system in tact and taught Eldest responsibility, while explaining my reasonings behind the gun rules.
Manuscripts can be edited to accommodate constructive feed back. In fact, this can be a very healthy process if you know why you are rewriting and to what purpose.
It is when we give in to the pressure regardless of our mindset (Ach, let him shoot anything he wants.) that we sell out. Or, when we are so stubborn we refuse to change (Forbidden objects often become obsessed about.) that we can write ourselves into a losing battle.
Parenthood as all about flexibility (you should have seen the dive behind the couch I made to avoid getting a Nerf bullet to the bum.) So is writing.
Enjoy the journey, keep your values and work with those around you. I promise you will get more out of life that way.
Happy Mother’s Day!