The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C and How It Broke Me

My last post, 4 months ago, detailed how I’d been kind of kicked in the butt my my last book. It wasn’t (still isn’t) selling as well as I would have liked, and WOW did that kill my confidence. I didn’t think it could get much worse, writing wise, and I was in a relatively good place anyway, like I said in the post – I believed in my work, I still had my job, there would always be a next book…

Can you believe I actually typed all that stuff out without thinking I’d jinx myself? 

At that point, I had just started work on The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C. It was going to be a fluffy, yet poignant, romance. I loved the characters, and I had a pretty good handle on them and their stories. I had an 8,000 word outline. I’d drafted books in just a few weeks, and this one would be no different. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, nothing much,  but enough to derail my hopes for a speedy, solid draft that was supposed to be ready for publication…well, a month ago.

  • First, it was gray outside. Very, very gray.
  • My seasonal affective disorder kicked into high gear, and I was feeling unusually sluggish to boot.
  • My doctor confirmed some stuff was a little messed up with my thyroid. It was rainy outside, nearly every day.
  • The Jewish high holidays had my kids home from school on and off for the better part of a month.
  • It was cold outside.
  • I couldn’t lose weight, and it was really getting on my nerves, so my doctor switched my antidepressants around. In short, that was a really bad idea.
  • Between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, I was working full time as a nanny mom for three out of five weeks.
  • I gained weight, inexplicably, which horrified me. (I still haven’t figured that weight thing out, by the way. It still kills me.)

And yet. These are normal things. Everyday life happens to every human, and lots of them manage to write books in under five months, even if they don’t have five hours dedicated to writing every single day, as I do.

Suite 17C might actually be the second book of my heart. Of course, I love every book I’ve ever written, but some of them just dig into your guts and mess things up in there. Sometimes, that can cause obsession, making writers work through exhaustion and despite any and all time constraints. That happened to me before, when I wrote ONE.

Suite 17C, however, is the kind of book of the heart that left me with uncertainty and doubt at every turn. 

Maybe it was the fact that there are three main characters, and I love them all so much that I was desperate to get their voices, their journeys, their relationships right. That’s typical writer’s angst times three. Maybe it was the fact that I’m now writing as my day job, instead of alongside my day job, and I was acutely aware that my success at writing this book was going to define my success as a professional for the first time ever.

Maybe it was a simple case of, “the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.” The 11th book an author writes is bound to fall victim to that phenomenon more than the 2nd, right?

Maybe it was the fact that my last book didn’t sell very well, and the nasty bully voice inside me was telling me this one would perform the same.

Maybe it was that the three main characters meant that the book naturally fell out at around 140,000 words, about twice as long as most of the others I’ve written.

Whatever the cause, I wrote The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C in a near-constant state of insecurity and worry. That made the whole process slower, which in turn added to the anxiety. Doing the first-pass edit forced me to re-stress over the story all over again.

All told, it was almost 5 months from outline to first draft, which means I still have at least one big round of revisions to do on it. And that was writing full time.

So, yeah, I’m feeling a little broken. My big plans to publish five or six books in 2015 have, obviously, been modified. The self-publishing businesswoman I professed myself to be is mocking Writer Me, telling her how soft and weepy and inconsistent and useless she is.

I only know one thing for sureThe Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C is a living, breathing first draft now. I kind of love it, and I made it all by myself. (That really never gets old.) I think it’s decent now – I know it’ll be something I’m really proud of when all the edits are wrestled into it.

That’s one thing to feel good about. The other is that I still have solid plans to write more again. I may not be a super-savvy freight train of a businesswoman, but I’m not giving up.

Long Story Short – The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C was a bitch to write, but I think it’ll be worth it. It will be out and available for you beautiful people to buy in the next few months – I don’t know exactly when, but I guess that’s not the worst thing in the world. In the meantime, here’s the pretty cover. It makes me smile, and I hope it does the same for you.

Hearts pattern

 

 

 

 

 

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