Writing my second book

I am having the dreaded second novel syndrome (and getting through to the other side with my sanity mostly intact).

I know I have to lower my expectations.

My first draft will be bad. It won’t matter that I have written and published a book before.

When I started writing this second book, all the skills I thought I’d mastered the first time around have mysteriously vanished and I am left facing the same challenges which plagued me the first time: self-doubt, procrastination and the fear of rejection.

Only by overcoming these difficulties I believe I can elevate my book to a publishable standard and one of the best ways to achieve this is to let go of the idea of perfection and allow myself to write a really shitty draft (or two).

At the end of the day, the truth is that published or not, I like many others, is still a novice of the craft but with each book I write, I will hopefully get faster and better at editing myself.

The weather in my writing world has been cold, damp and somewhat dreary. It is a good time to let my fingers dance on the keyboard, instead of wanting my feet to dance on the beach, a hiking trail or pumping on a bike.

I am reaching beyond my limits with this second book of POSM, I want it to be a big story, in every sense of the word. Big ideas, big problems, big drama, big action. Characters my readers can love, and love to hate. A fascinating world that feels real. A plot full of twists and turns and switches and surprises. And, possibly most importantly, sincerity. I care about what I am writing, and have a story that I have been compelled to write. I have to remember why I wanted to tell this story and try to forget about external pressures.

I have two great Beta readers right now, both very different in their perspectives and ideas, but always on target with their concerns, comments and upfront honesty. When I first started writing, I found it hard to accept feedback about my work. Everything felt very raw and while I appreciated feedback, there was always this voice of doubt sitting at the back of my mind, telling me I would never be able to produce anything better. Of course, I know now that voice is a liar. Asking for feedback has not only been a fantastic way of improving my writing, its actually been quite liberating. What? I hear you ask. How can having someone scribble in red pen all over your lovingly crafted prose make you feel better and not worse?

Well, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that starting over – again and again and again – actually builds up my sense of confidence. Every time I have corrected one of those writing darlings that I believed sounded clever/insightful/talented, it showed that doubting voice how much I am prepared to sacrifice for the good of the story and how confident I am in my ability to make more.

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."

--Anaïs Nin

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