I think the hardest part about writing this second novel is that it’s really a whole different animal. I wrote my first book with all the ideas and experiences and words I’d had for my entire lifetime. Book two is mining all that stuff, but it feels different. I really believe what one writer said about remembering that sometimes you need to grow into the person who can write the book that needs to be written. For book two it just feels like I’m growing more slowly. I have realized this is going to take me a lot longer. I naively assumed that because it was the sequel it would flow from me and be easy, but I think second books are hard-won. It can be pulling teeth, an uphill battle.
This unexpected haste provided its own challenges: “There was a fear of ‘do I have a second book in me? Will it live up to the first book? I can feel like it belongs to the readers, and in some ways it does, and I think there’s a lot of beauty and merit in that.
I now have an audience who has certain expectations of me as a writer. With my first book, writing was such a pie-in-the-sky, la-di-da feeling. There's was very little belief that it was a real book that will actually be read and reviewed because that has literally never happened to me before. There are no such blissfully ignorant moments with a second book, and I think that's what I am experiencing. Well, that and acute terror.
The hardest part is definitely trying to live up to the pressure I put on myself about writing a stellar second book. The best part is having that built-in readership of people who are so eager and happy for another story from me! I feel very grateful for that support. I have learned to tune out external voices (real or perceived) that might infiltrate the creative process.
The second hardest part is the fact that everything in the first book was basically set in stone, and it is too late to change my mind about any of it. Apparently, I tend to solve problems by throwing out things that aren't working and coming up with a whole new idea. Now, I had to honor every commitment I'd made in the first book.
One of the biggest pleasures that can be derived from being a published author is seeing other people’s reaction to my novels.
Reviews, good and bad, are exciting because it’s people taking what you’ve written seriously and considering what you’ve got to say.
But even better than that is reader feedback. Be it on Amazon, Good reads, social media or in person. I am so thankful for all of it.
The second novel feels different. It’s not a fluke anymore.
This is a personal validation that I can do it more than once.
I’m a writer, it’s my vocation, and it's amazing.