It was Day One. I sat at my desk, a typed list of 50 women at my side, my laptop open in front of me. I was ready, poised to embark on an eight-month research and writing project for a book about women in Christian history.
I glanced at the first woman on my list – Hildegard of Bingen: 1098-1179 – and paused. The twelfth century. What even happened back in the twelfth century, anyway? I wondered. Wracking my brain, I struggled to unearth deeply buried facts from my high school European history class. Was that when the Vikings lived? Or wait, maybe it was when the Crusades took place? Although I seem to recall something about a Norman invasion, too.
Turns out, I was a century off on all three accounts.
As I sat hunched over my laptop, my hands wrapped around a warm mug, doubts ping-ponged around my head.
Clearly I was not the right person for this job.
Cleary I wasn’t smart enough, historyish enough or researchy enough to write this book well.
Clearly the publisher had made a grave mistake in contracting me, the woman who didn’t know word one about history, to write a history book.
I wanted to quit, even before I’d begun.