Recently I finished a different sort of project that Iíve been thinking about writing for years. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I typed THE END was immense. I did it! But there was something keeping me from the usual sense of relief and freedom I get when I hand in a book to my editor.
I thought about it for quite a while before I understood why there were still some bits of me that didnít feel quite like celebrating.
For one thing, I learned a lot while writing this story and a good part of that was finding out what DIDNíT work rather than what did. I spent a lot of time looking for other ways to get across what I thought I needed to. Sometimes what I thought was important wasnít. Sometimes I was in the wrong POV, I focused on the wrong plot line, or got the motivation wrong.
I also realized that sometimes you donít REALLY know what you think you know. For example, this book is part of a trilogy. What I thought was book 1 I soon discovered was book 2, so I put it aside and started with a different set of characters. Once I finished, I realized that the couple Iíd already bumped to book 2 really needed to be bumped Ė again Ė to book 3! Itís not their turn yet. But that was something I couldnít know until I got in and got my hands dirty. Everyone works differently, but if Iíd proposed this series based on my original vision, I would have found myself in trouble! Maybe if I were a stronger plotterÖ but Iím not. I made peace with that long ago.
And then I realized that the reason Iím really not bouncing off the walls with excitement is that Iím scared. If this book doesnít fly, neither does book 2 or 3. And I want them to succeed. I donít want those stories to go untold.
I know they might. Thatís the nature of the business. And hereís where I realized something weird and oddly comforting all at once.
Back in 2001 I finished my first manuscript. I was so proud and pleased Iíd done it Ė Iíd written a book and submitted it! Letís face it Ė a lot of people SAY they are going to but donít get down to doing it. On the back of that though was fear Ė fear that I wouldnít come up with another idea. For the first half dozen manuscripts I wrote (and had rejected), I finished without having any idea what I was going to write next. Thatís exactly how I feel about this project. Now itís done, but if it gets rejected and I want to try again, what am I going to write? Seriously Ė Iíve got NOTHINí.
This is where the comforting part comes in. Because each time I felt that way before, I always came up with a new idea. Something better and stronger and a new set of characters to fall in love with. And after a while the ideas started coming faster until these days I have multiple stories waiting to be told and not enough time to write them all. If the past is a window to the future, the ideas will come. Maybe I need to retrain my brain to see them, but they will be there somewhere.
Know what else I did in the past? I picked myself up from those rejections and kept going until I got it right. And Iíll do so again. If itís not this project, maybe it will be the next one. So I just keep trying.
All this doubt isnít all bad, either. It keeps me on my toes, keeps me always trying to do it better, and that can only be a good thing Ė for me and for my readers. J
In the meantime, I still have lots to celebrate. I have a duet out this month and next: THE LAST REAL COWBOY and THE REBEL RANCHER. I love writing for Harlequin Romance and I had so much fun writing these two stories. Iíve got a short story in a digital anthology from Harlequin too Ė Second-Chance Mother in THE GREATEST GIFT: A MOTHERíS DAY COLLECTION. And Iím gearing up for RWA Nationals in Anaheim in July - Iím up for a RITAģ in the Contemporary Series category.
A diamond like no other...
From the moment he turned up late to her charity's meeting, placating everyone with a tip of his Stetson and a lazy smile, Angela Beck knew that Sam Diamond was going to be trouble with a capital T.
Angela is the prickliest woman Sam Diamond's ever met - let alone had to work with! He'd love to still her sharp tongue with a kiss, but first he has to get close enough to awaken the complex woman beneath the deliberately cool exterior. And that's something only a real cowboy can do...
Link to preview excerpt: www.donnaalward.com/LastRealCowboy.htm
Buy at Harlequin: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=25747&cid=227
Buy at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Ranchers-Runaway-Princess-ebook/dp/B007BBVDJ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335205195&sr=8-1
A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.
An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn't until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.
Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna's debut Romance,Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.
Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website atwww.donnaalward.com, visit her facebook page, or through her publisher.
Representation: Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates