After publishing my first book, I was eager to get started on book two. I had promoted the first book as number one in a series, and planned on getting the second book out in less than 6 months. That didn’t happen.
I already had an idea and even some chapters written so what was the problem? I tried chatting with other authors hoping to find some inspiration, but talking with other writers is like a double edged sword. On one hand, it is nice to be able to chat with like-minded people and not feel like I am going crazy. On the other hand, it is like a knife to the heart when they are posting their latest word count or next release date on Facebook and Twitter making me feel like I am falling farther and farther behind. How long can I milk the first book and keep readers interested before they move on?
One thing I did learn from other authors is that I am not alone in experiencing the Second Book Blues. I have talked to several writers after reading their first books only to have them say that they hope their next book doesn’t “disappoint.” I can definitely identify with that feeling.
I was excited at first when people would read my book and immediately ask me when the second book was coming out. I loved to hear that, but as time wore on, I came to dread that question because I didn’t have an answer. I was stalled on my second book and couldn’t seem to make any progress.
When I first started writing, I had an idea for two separate books. I thought it would be nice if I could somehow connect them and create a series, but I didn’t know how to connect them. About halfway through “Where Will You Run?”, I found a way to make it work. I finished the first book and figured the second book would practically write itself. Not only did it not write itself, I couldn’t write it either.
What I failed to recognize was the fact that I had been stuck in a similar position at the end of the first book. It took me months to write the end of it. I didn’t know why. I knew how the book was going to end; but for the life of me, I couldn’t write it. I was so frustrated. I talked to my Honey about it describing the ending, and he said that it was missing the “wow” factor. He was absolutely right. The reason I couldn’t write the end was because I hated it. When I figured that out and let go of the idea I had originally, I was able to finish the book in four days. Four ugly days of writing 12-14 hours in my pajamas with little to eat or drink, but I couldn’t get it out fast enough once I knew it was right.
Flash forward to late last week. I was lamenting over my problems writing the original plotline part for book two. I couldn’t make it work. There were too many holes; too many questions. I had been stuck for months. Duh. I finally realized that I hated that part of the plot. I needed that additional material when it was a stand alone book, but I didn’t need it as part of the series.
So why did I hang on to that plotline so tightly? I had already written several chapters following that story, and I couldn’t stomach scrapping all of it and starting over. Ugh. But scrap it I did and it was the best decision ever! I have started writing again and it is effortless. Now I know. If I hate it, I can’t write it. I just have to keep that in mind for future projects, so I don’t waste time pondering over my inability to write something I don’t want to.
I guess my point is, don’t be afraid to take chances if something isn’t working out, even if you have already spent a lot of time on it. Don’t hold on to something that is keeping your story from moving forward. No writing is ever wasted because you can always learn something whether it is new information about a character or just good writing practice. Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!!