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Day 25: 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Abigail Green

I have known Abigail Green since I was working on Writer Mama. In fact, I remember that Abby was instrumental in helping me write one of the chapters for the book, when I just couldn’t seem to nail it myself. The specific, helpful advice she gave has become typical of the kind of insight her students rely on in essay-writing classes she has been teaching for years. And of course, she would not be teaching essay-writing if she was not a seasoned, successful essay writer and journalist herself.

If you would like a taste of Abby’s sassy take on new motherhood, you must check out her new e-book, Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All The Way Through Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months. I think the title pretty much says it all! Please help me welcome Abby!

About Abigail Green

Abigail Green has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has published over 200 articles and essays in such places as American Baby, Health, and Smithsonian magazine, as well as A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers, Babble.com, and TheBump.com. She also teaches online classes for writers of all levels on how to write and publish personal essays. You can find out more about Abby at http://www.AbigailGreen.com or on her blog, http://www.AbbyOfftheRecord.com, where she writes about parenting, publishing, and life in Baltimore with her husband and two insanely active young boys.

About Mama Insider

I really thought I was prepared to have my first baby. I’d read the books and blogs, seen the movies and reality shows. In my 15+ years as a journalist, I’d even written articles on pregnancy symptoms, babymoons, and co-sleeping. And heaven knows I’d been to enough baby showers. Yet I was still surprised by so much of what I experienced during pregnancy, birth, and my first 3 months as a new mom.

For instance, no one told me that I might get pregnant and not realize it till I was already on my way to a booze-fueled girls’ weekend. Or that there are other insidious symptoms besides morning sickness, such as the dreaded Pregnancy Butt. Or that birthing classes can involve chanting and colorful hand-knit models of the placenta. (Or was that just mine?)

If you want the real scoop on pregnancy, birth, and the first 3 months of motherhood – the good, the bad, and the funny – from one (formerly) new mom to another, you’ve come to the right place. For the past 5+ years, I’ve been chronicling the joy and the craziness on my blog, and have heard from tons of other new moms about what’s on their sleep-deprived minds. I’m here to reassure you that you are not alone. You are not crazy. And you are going to do just fine as a mom. The proof that other people have been through it and survived is in this e-book.

You’ll find out:

  • Why you shouldn’t be concerned by the size of your unborn baby’s nose
  • What happens when you’re 10 days overdue and your doula goes on vacation
  • New moms’ Frequently Asked Questions on such topics as cankles and clueless husbands
  • The differences between Nervous Moms and Mellow Moms
  • What “me time” looks like once you’re a mom
  • How real moms lose the baby weight (hint: it’s not salad and Pilates)

Each of the 23 chapters in this 50-page e-book is short and easy to read while you’re feeding the baby, waiting for the pediatrician, or reheating your cup of coffee for the third time because you’re running on 3 hours sleep and are constantly being interrupted to pump, change diapers, start a load of laundry, or search under the couch for missing pacifiers.

The Very Short Interview

When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?

I’ve known I was a writer since I was a little girl writing mystery stories and comic strips on my bedroom floor. But it wasn’t until an internship at a newspaper in college that I started to think I could write for a living. There have been plenty of times I pulled away from freelance writing in frustration and despair, but I always end up coming back to writing. I know I’m a writer at heart, because I can’t NOT write.

Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?

That’s easy: my parents. They are both teachers, and inspired in me a love of reading and writing early on. Over the years I have also found support from all sorts of different sources – writers’ groups, writing classes, conferences. I guess the most surprising source of support has been other writers I’ve connected with online, some of whom I’ve never met in person. It’s encouraging and awe-inspiring to me that strangers all over the world will reach out to others with no ulterior motive at all, simply to help out a fellow writer.

What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.

I get a lot of “you’re such a funny writer” and “I’m so glad I’m not alone.” I don’t get a big head about it because real life — at least mine — is SO much funnier and crazier than anything I could make up. I also love when readers say, “I really appreciate your honesty. You’ve put into words exactly what I feel.” One reader told me that before reading the book she was not enjoying her pregnancy much because she didn’t feel the way she thought a new mom was “supposed to” feel. The book made her laugh and realize her feelings were perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

And Now, Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. You remember how this works right?

I ask you a question. You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! I hope to see you here every day this month. Bring your friends!

Is there some aspect of the writing life that doesn’t feel the way you thought it was supposed to feel? Is it normal to feel uncomfortable sometimes? How important is it to be able to embrace the ups and downs of the writing life without letting either the highs or the lows throw you off course?

Ready, set, comment!

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  • Heidi Smith Luedtke May 24, 2012, 10:39 pm

    There are certainly days when the writing life doesn’t feel as creative as I thought it would. I think writing has a romantic mystique about it. And that idealized image isn’t a good match for my reality. Much of the time I am in project management mode, rather than creative mode. I break away from the computer and write first drafts longhand in order to free up some creative energies. The keyboard and screen seem to put me in editing, tracking and tweaking mode, and that makes it hard to let my creative energies flow.

  • Brit StClair May 25, 2012, 12:16 am

    I frequently feel as though when I get “me” time, I try to use it to write, while my husband gets to meet up with friends. I know that it’s silly to feel a little resentful of that, because I WANT to write, and I choose to make time for friends less because of it, but it still makes me the teeniest bit resentful at times. Also, sometimes not knowing where exactly I’ll be in ten years is disconcerting, especially when the writing is slow – makes me ask myself, “Can I really do this? What if I’m in the EXACT SAME PLACE IN TEN YEARS? AHHH!” So yeah, I think it’s pretty crucial to embrace the highs and lows of the writing life :). Otherwise you will go crazy. 

  • Carol J. Alexander May 25, 2012, 1:15 am

    As a college student wanting to work for a major newspaper, I thought of the writing life as glamorous: name in print, awards ceremonies, interviewing famous people, travel, etc. But since I didn’t actually start my writing career until I’d been married a good, long time and had six children, that earlier expectation never materialized. And for this stage in my life, what the writing life is in reality, is perfect. The ups and downs of the writing life? Isn’t all of life full of ups and downs. If we do not embrace change, no matter the area of our life, we create stress for ourselves; and that is not a healthy thing.

  • Abby Green May 25, 2012, 2:54 am

    Thanks for the lovely intro, Christina, and for hosting me on your blog today. I would not have had the motivation or stamina to publish this ebook if it weren’t for you.  If it hadn’t been such a challenge, however, it would not have been nearly as rewarding once it was finally finished. But that’s true of most things in life, isn’t it?

  • Judy May 25, 2012, 4:24 am


    My aspect is a “mixed bag”—the excitement
    EVERY time I have something published. I didn’t realize I would feel this; I
    also didn’t expect to be nervous EVERY time I send something out or correspond
    with an editor. Or when I branch out a bit further in my platform. I’ve grown
    so much, and I had no idea that I was capable of doing what I do. It’s pretty

  • Rhonda May 25, 2012, 5:07 am

    I really didn’t have a lot of expectations for the
    way the writing life was going to feel, but publishing an article is a lot of fun—every
    single time. Yes, I think any kind of life is going to be uncomfortable at
    times – comes with the territory regardless of what we do. I think it’s
    important to embrace both the ups and the downs by celebrating the good stuff
    and learning from the not-so-good stuff. I tend to get discouraged because I
    can’t commit to my writing in the way, or at the same rate, others do. That’s
    when I have to resist getting off course. If I want to keep writing and
    publishing, it’s very important I don’t fall into that trap.

  • Malia Jacobson May 25, 2012, 5:17 am

    Yes, absolutely. I’ve been surprised to find that, even though I feel fantastically fortunate to be working as a writer, I’m not 100 percent in love with my career every day, all the time. Working at my “dream career” is not a total non-stop love-fest. It’s like any long-term marriage: there are aspects of writing for a living that I adore, and a few things that I have to learn to live with. There are ups and downs and tough days. Actually, it’s the very fact that writing for a living is so challenging–and I’m more than willing to do it anyway–that helped me realize that I’m a “writer.” For better or for worse. 🙂

  • Cara Holman May 25, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I never thought I’d be writing
    nonfiction. Although I often conflate events, change names, tweak the details,
    and clean up the dialog, everything I write, from personal essays to poetry, is
    essentially nonfiction. And that feels very uncomfortable sometimes. When I was
    first starting out, I had an established writer tell me that while she thought I
    was a good writer, my essays were neither humorous nor inspirational. That
    baffled me, especially because she thought she was being helpful. What was she
    trying to tell me? Since my writing was good, then I could only conclude that I
    was a dull person, not worth reading about. Yikes! I’ve since put this little
    incident into perspective, and what I think now is this: any kind of writing,
    be it total fantasy, thinly disguised fiction, or nonfiction leaves you a bit
    vulnerable. The ongoing challenge is to believe in your own worth, and not blow
    the criticisms or the accolades out of proportion.

  • MLTCG May 25, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Right off I can tell you writing is much harder than I thought. It’s all much more difficult when I’m tired and have to push through until I finish my daily goal. On the other hand it is  much more rewarding than expected. I do think it is normal to feel uncomfortable sometimes- things niggle at the back of my mind, keep me awake, don’t quite come together-before it all falls into place. I don’t have a lot of downs, I don’t have time. I have more ups which keep me on track. 

  • Mar Junge May 25, 2012, 2:54 pm

    One thing that has always bothered me is that when it comes to being a commercial success as a novelist, there is no recognition for how long you’ve been in the business, or how many classes you take, or how much time you spend working on your craft. A doctor or a lawyer or a teacher gets credit for life-long learning. Not so in writing – or in any creative profession, for that matter. Hot young talent can leapfrog established writers in a heartbeat.

    My teacher/mentor/novelist Floyd Salas reminded us that some of the most talented writers never get published. Others are recognized posthumous. His point was that if you measure your abilities by the commercial success you achieve, you may be disappointed. If you measure your success by what the critics are saying, you may be even more disappointed. He’s right, of course, but there’s something about it that just seems unfair. Then again, life isn’t fair; the only fair is the county fair.

  • christinakatz May 26, 2012, 9:21 am

     Always! And especially in any kind of book writing. 🙂

  • christinakatz May 26, 2012, 4:22 pm

     Heidi wins! Congrats!