Writing is Like Breastfeeding


It’s Day 15 of the 30 day 500 Words a Day challenge.


A quote that I heard recently that encourages me to keep writing, especially after a good day, is this, by Annie Dillard:


“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”


Some days, it’s easier to write than others. The hardest part seems to be writing the first five sentences.


The first five days of breastfeeding are the hardest.


After the first few sentences are written down — as long as they’re good enough to spark even a minimum level of inspiration — the words begin to come a little easier.

But the first 100 words are the hardest.


After the first 100 days of breastfeeding, you’re practically a pro.


It’s not the time of day I write. It doesn’t have a lot to do with how tired I am.


It’s just getting into a groove. Finding a thought that makes sense and is worthy of exploring. Not all thoughts are, even though I’m told there are no bad writing sessions.


It doesn’t matter if the baby is hungry or just needs comfort, when you’re learning to breastfeed, it’s all about skin to skin contact and forming a good latch.



Have you ever made a really good meal, just throwing things into the pot, and later on you think, “Why didn’t I write it down?”


The biggest mistakes we make is thinking that a good thought will always be there. Write your best thought. Even though the fear is that a good idea will never come again. They will come, and they’ll come more often the more you drain yourself dry.


When I was learning to breastfeed and my baby had finally had a good —  I wasn’t in pain — long — at least one breast felt empty — nursing session, I would worry about not being able to repeat it. I had a lot of problems related to breastfeeding the first three months I was a Mom so I approached each nursing session with fear. 


Fear does not make anything easier. Especially breastfeeding.


Women who have never breastfed don’t realize that the way your body produces more milk is by draining the breast as completely as you can. Over and over again.

When babies go through growth spurts, they will eat for hours on end. They will drain your breasts dry and you’ll think that your body doesn’t have the ability to make enough milk.

Eventually, your baby sleeps and during that time, your body performs a small miracle. Your breasts will begin to produce more milk but only if they’ve been drained. Drained “dry”. Over and over again.


Writing is like Breastfeeding.


You need to write it all out. Some days it will be painful. Some days you’ll dread it. Your ideas may suck.


Sometimes, breastfeeding sucks. In the beginning anyway.


But if you keep at it, it will get easier.


And the words — or milk — will come easier. In larger quantities.


Just show up and bare it all.





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