As part of my How To Write A Book series, I thought it would be helpful to share the story of how I wrote my first book, Housework Blues.
• • •
The Story of Housework Blues
(Extract from From Wannabe to Writer)
Around 2008, I began searching for a book that would help me with my domestic woes.
I tend to turn to books for help with my challenges and problems, and so I was seeking literary solace for my severe housework blues.
At the time, I was working from home, as well as being a full time mum to two small children. I was drowning in laundry and mess and disorganised chaos.
I needed help.
I’d tried to find a book that addressed what I was going through, but all I could find were collections of cleaning tips or time management systems.
I wanted a book that dealt with the aspect I struggled with; the emotional and psychological challenge.
(Housework was ‘doing my head in’.)
Then one day – ironically, as I was scrubbing the kitchen floor – I had an epiphany.
…there should be a guide for women like me.
There should be a housework manual for women who just don’t want to do this stuff!
So I threw the scrubbing brush back into the soapy bucket. (Yes, I was actually scrubbing ‘scrubber-style’.)
Then I went and vented my spleen onto my computer.
I still have the document. It’s essentially just a list of my struggles, peppered with considerable frustration and angst.
I gave it the working title: A Feminist Guide to Cooking and Cleaning; A mental approach to housework – for women who don’t.
I’d heard the advice – if you can’t find the book you need, write it.
So I thought this could be my chance to finally put my writing aspirations into a concrete form – that someone may actually want to read.
(I suspected I wasn’t the only female who didn’t want to spend her life, as Rudyard Kipling said, ‘threshing herself to pieces over the mean worry of housekeeping’.)
My project was simply a quest for a happier domestic balance.
I was aware of the cultural issues, (ie, more being expected of female than males) but I wanted to increase the harmony in my home, not start a war.
I was more interested in the psychological and emotional stuff behind the angst/resentment.
I suspected that the real issue, for me, lay deeper than not knowing how to shine my sink.
This was the angle that I felt hadn’t really been addressed before.
So I created a list of all the reasons why I felt I was struggling, and all the thoughts I had about what I could do about it.
From that A4 Word document of frustrated ramblings, a book was born.
Once I’d had the idea, potential chapters and snippets of text began occurring to me more frequently, (ironically, usually during housework.)
In my mission to conquer my housework overload, I’d already come up with a few strategies of my own.
With a bit of thought and attention, I was able to come up with a few more. So I wrote those down too.
Over the next few months, I added more notes and ideas, more solutions and remedies.
And I felt duty bound to share them.
I’d discovered (to my relief) that not all females are born homemakers. I wanted to share my tips and tricks with any like-minded non-domestics.
And so, out of the desire to create calm out of the chaos of my home life, along with an urge to write and share, I’d embarked upon my first book.
But at that point I didn’t know it was a book. It would change shape and structure a dozen times before it came to rest in its current format.
Some ideas evolved from a snippet into a whole section (Delegation). Other ideas were swallowed up elsewhere or ditched completely. (Possibly for the best in the case of The Loo.)
The more I added to my musings and ideas, the more the material began to naturally fall into complete sections.
I wondered whether I might actually have enough material for a series of ebooks…?
Each of these could relate to the problem of housework OD, but tackling a particular bugbear, ie Lack of Motivation, Lack of Energy etc…
This series began life entitled Make Peace with Housework. And, in anticipation of my Big Launch, I also began a blog of the same name.
But I wasn’t happy with my ‘mini-ebooks’. They were quite small as standalone pieces, and I felt they weren’t substantial enough to be sold as a complete solution.
Besides, I was hearing from readers that they suffered from most, if not all, of the 8 ‘housework blues’ that I’d identified.
So, I decided to wrap them all together into one volume.
I had to rework the intro and then go through the sections to make sure they worked together as an integral whole, rather than disparate sections bundled together.
But it was enjoyable work and I knew as I was doing it that it flowed much better.
Plus, there was the added bonus of having accidentally produced a ‘real book’.
This was very satisfying – to find myself at the end of the process, without knowing what was happening until the majority of the work had been done. (I’ve written more about my ‘accidental’ method here.)
By the end, though, I knew I had a book.
I can remember vividly writing the closing paragraph. It felt both moving and surreal – a huge accomplishment, but also strangely calm and inevitable.
Of course, there was still much editing and polishing to be done but the main composition, the full first draft, was finished.
And as I sat in the brick outbuilding in my garden (the only place I could escape the noise of family life), with the early summer sunshine streaming through the cobwebbed windows, tears rolled down my cheeks as I wrote the final words.
That last chapter was about the role our homes play in our lives – a topic I was passionate about.
In fact, this had been the spur at the heart of my mission – to find more peace in the home.
So, it was a heartfelt finale, the culmination of a labour of love.
But also, I knew I had achieved something: this was the end of my book.
My first book.
I had written a book.
This is an extract from my ebook, From Wannabe To Writer,
a compilation of tips and tales from my writing and self-publsihing adventures.
• • •
It was launched on World Book Day
– to help Wannabe writers everywhere to get their books out there.
My rollercoaster ride to becoming a writer.
The highs. The lows. The short-cuts.
If you’ve ever wanted to write a book….
If you’d like to shortcut your learning curve….
If you want to truly believe that it’s possible to go from wannabe to successful writer…
This is for you.
• • •
” Smart people learn from their own mistakes.
The really smart people learn from the mistakes of others.”
~ Brandon Mull