It all started when I stopped writing again to research. Suddenly, I wonder who I'm trying to kid! How on earth am I ever going to know for sure that I've got my facts right? What if I'm not being believable? Question after question of doubt rained down on me.
Then I started wondering whether I was perhaps writing for the wrong line. Perhaps that's why I'm struggling? Maybe I shouldn't be writing medical? My first two attempts back in the '90s were for the Modern/Harlequin Presents line, so why wasn't I targeting them this time?
Write what you enjoy to read is what we're advised. But therein lies the problem - I love all the HMB lines! Modern, Romance, Medical, Intrigue... Then I read the extended guidelines from HMB that I'd requested and suddenly all made sense and I was confident again.
The reason I've chosen to write Medicals is because this line can pretty much incorporate all of the above. I want to write from the heart; I want to let my characters decide how sensual they are; I want to choose any setting... I also want to use my own experiences to a certain degree. I've personal experiences to draw from. I know about women's problems, miscarriages, having babies, post-natal difficulties, depression and lots more besides. I know how it feels to be a patient. I know what patients want from their doctors. I know bad doctors, and I know good ones.
For a while though none of these reasons felt enough. I froze. What if I wasn't getting the medical details right? After all I hadn't worked in the health profession.
Then I received a few emails:
One was from my CP (critique partner) yet again telling me how much she believed in my writing...
Another was from a writer who's become a good friend, with a timely reminder to get it written and stop worrying about getting it right. She assures me that these feelings and doubts are the norm - she gets them often as well. I need to plod on and finish the first draft because only then will I know what needs tweaking and be able to add more layers.
Finally, in a reply to an email I'd written to one of my favourite authors following another fantastic read, was another reminder - no matter what line I'm writing for always focus on the romance. This person has no idea how much I've been struggling or how down I've been feeling about my writing.
Combine all these emails
+ all the words of encouragement I've received from other writers at different times these past months,
+ my (ever patient) hubby's insistence not to dare even think about giving up
= something finally filtering through to this numb brain of mine.
So a note to myself (and every other aspiring writer engulfed with doubt):
So there it is, my rollercoaster ride of the past week or so. Before I go, look what happens when I allow myself to believe all this advice:
Yesterday (still feeling yucky) I sat myself down in my cave and did some writing. I managed over 1,000 words before lunch!
And speaking of never giving up:
Next week (whether I'm feeling yucky or not) I'm away to have another try at seeing Patrick Swayze !