Most of you will be unaware of how much this particular novel means to me. My debut, Debutantes Don't Date is close to my heart because it was my first, but Damsel in Distress? was a massive struggle for me to write and I am hugely proud of it.
When I received my two book contract at Christmas time last year, I was over the moon and so excited. Who wouldn't be? And after Debutantes Don't Date was released I thought I had it made. (not financially of course, most people need to write more than one measly book for that to happen), but I thought I knew what I was doing. I wrote one, so therefore it stands to reason that to write another would be easy, or at the very least easier than the first.
Nope. Not in my case anyway.
The book I started writing is not the book that ended up being written. I floundered around for months, determined to make the story I was writing work. But it didn't. I was writing in circles and in knots. No part of my plot made sense and my main character was not even remotely likable. I was writing the novel I thought I should write, instead of the one I wanted to write.
The problem was, that the idea was good and it excited me, and so I persisted. And persisted. Long after I should have admitted defeat, I finally came to my senses and gave up. I finally acknowledged it wasn't working. But now what? I still had a book due and now only had two months to write it. Did I mention it took me three years to write Debutantes Don't Date?
Luckily I had another idea brewing in the back of my head and was able to start a new story right away. Unfortunately, I was only able to write about 3000 words in a week. At this rate, even if I wrote every day it would take me 20 weeks to write a 60,000 word novel or about 17 weeks to write a 50,000 word one. If you recall, I only had two months to my deadline.
I was totally screwed.
My editor was kind enough to give me two extra weeks but that still was nowhere near the amount of time I needed. Something was going to have to change.
In the meantime, the house was becoming an absolute mess and even though I tried, I couldn't find the time to clean and I had no more luck finding a cleaner either.
With low self confidence and terror beginning to burn a hole in my stomach, I got sick. I mean really sick. I was in bed for about four days with a chest infection. I couldn't sleep because every time I tried laying down, I started coughing and couldn't stop. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful doctor who gave me some great drugs that calmed my cough enough I could at least sleep in the reclining chair in the living room.
During the many hours in my bed, hiding from my children, I found a book about how to write faster. Thank God. The book I picked up really was a God send.
So I was back on track and instead of writing 3000 words in a week I was writing 3000 in two hours and was able to get my manuscript finished in time for my deadline.
The problem was then that my manuscript was crap. Not complete crap, mind you, just not what I wanted it to be. After a few weeks, my editor sent me revisions and I had the chance to fix it up a bit before it went to copy edits. (This is where a 'copy editor' goes through the manuscript one line at a time and fixes spelling and checks facts.) My editor sent more revisions with the copy edits and after quickly going over again what I had written I sent back my manuscript on the last possible day in order to make my publication day.
So now my story was about to be sent out into the world. My nerves were raw and I was disgusted with myself. How could I have let this happen? How could I be so stupid to have taken so long to write a book? I wasn't feeling my best about Damsel in Distress? and I thought I had not only let myself down, but also the smattering of fans I had gained with Debutantes Don't Date.
To go off topic a little for a moment, I have a good friend who also happens to be an Energy Healer. I had been meaning to have a healing from her for ages but for whatever reason I kept putting it off. She came to see me two days before Damsel in Distress? was released and I told her about my feelings toward this book. She made me realise that I was feeling guilty for even attempting to write this book in the first place and that I was wondering who the hell I thought I was for writing it. I was feeling guilty for having a messy house and getting dinner to the table slightly late some nights. And because of this, there was no way I could feel good about Damsel in Distress?
And then she worked her magic.
Today I feel very proud of myself for getting Damsel in Distress? out there and available to the public. I feel proud of the words I have written and I feel proud for keeping it all together while I was writing. So the house is a mess, who cares? So dinner is little late, who cares? The kids are happy, the husband is happy (now that I finally found a cleaner) and most importantly of all, I'm happy.
Now you know why Damsel in Distress? is so important to me. Not because I wrote it, but because of what I learned about myself while I was doing the writing.
My mother once gave me notebook with the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.
Ain't that the truth? Thanks Mom.