I’m thrilled with the attention my post “What I Wish I’d Known Before Writing a Book“ has received so far. I guess I wasn’t the only one who could have used that advice at one time! Now, I’m happily (most of the time) working on my second book and there are a few things I didn’t know about that process. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know. I might have taken up pottery, instead.
Here’s what I’m learning about writing the Second Book:
1.) Sometimes you think you know what you’re doing and the words come easily. Then, sometimes you’re staring at a blank screen and you try to remember how you wrote the first book. You figure someone else did it while you were sleeping and just put your name on it. That was nice of them. See if you can find their email and get them to come back.
2.) The memory of writing your first book will seem like a perfect time in your life that is no more. You try to remember that you’re being nostalgic. Like high school for some or college for others, when the work is hard, you’ll sit there longing for the days when you were so “carefree” and “discovering your potential” as a writer. Like high school and college, you’ve forgotten all the awkward moments, the restrictions your book posed upon you, or how many times that first book broke your heart. NOW, the “When I Was Writing My First Book” chapter is a delicious, cushy part of your life that you can’t get back. You know that’s not true, but you can’t see it any other way.
3.) No matter how many five star reviews First Book is getting on Amazon or Goodreads, when it’s 5:00 a.m. and you’re sitting alone with Second Book, all you can remember are the reviews that said, “Meh.” You focus on what you remember your friend Reverend Jen saying about bad reviews: “Don’t let them get you down. Just know that reviewer is simply a bad person.”*
4.) Some days, Second Book is so nice to you–so much nicer than First Book. You know what will make your editors happy. The feedback from your First Book helps you figure out what will make readers happy. You have more confidence in yourself to write what will make you happy, too!
5.) Like what I imagine having babies close together, having two books close together is stressful and insane. Okay, I have no idea what it’s like to have sequential babies…but I do know that having sequential books is madness. You’ll start rolling with your research, your words, your plan….and suddenly you’ll realize you need to stop and write blog posts about First Book and reach out to other stores and beg them to promote it. It’s not that you’ve forgotten about First Book, but the Muse is biting on Second Book and you owe it to First Book to give it as much audience as possible. Bye-bye social life. You thought you gave it up with First Book? Forget it. Two books and you never see anyone but your cats and occasionally your partner when they knock on your office door to kindly let you know the building is on fire.**
6.) You’re not rich–yet. Like I’ve said before, please buy my book so I can take my partner on the vacation he so very much deserves after putting up with living with me during two books. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling (and I’m still resentful that I’m not), your first book probably won’t make your rich. Your second book will make you a little less not-rich because now there’s two of them out there. Still, you’ll need a job or a trust fund to keep you going until people realize how incredible you are and buy everything you ever wrote.
It’s a short list–I’m sure I’ll think of more and when I do, I’ll be sure to share them.
In the meantime, I’d appreciate attention to a cause for my dear friend and Sister-Priestess. Her husband was in a bad accident a couple of weeks ago and a fund has been set up to help with medical bills and the other expenses that come along with being hurt. Please help an important Priestess’s family in a difficult time.
(*I don’t actually think “meh” reviewers are bad people. But Rev’s words make me smile in moments of doubt!”)
(**Our building did not catch on fire. But sometimes I suspect that’s the only time my SigOth could get my full attention.)