Second Book Blues
Who knew writing a second book would be so hard? With your first book you not only have the advantage of all the time you need but there’s also no expectation that it will be any good, so you have the freedom to play with it and it doesn’t matter that you have absolutely no idea how to write a book in the first place. If a book is successful (and for a first time author just being published is success enough) then you want to deliver something similar enough to your first book but different enough to avoid you becoming Dan Brown–I have a theory that Dan Brown doesn’t write any new books, he just uses the find and replace function to change the name of characters. Perhaps my second book should be Chicken Hugh.
The hardest thing though is the lack of time. Authors really want to get that second book out there as soon as possible to build off the momentum of the first, but of course a first book rarely pays enough to give an author that time they need. So the author clutches at bits of the day normally reserved for sleep and DVD marathons. The author slowly goes insane. I am that author. I am also the walrus. Goo goo je goob.
There is some arrogance as well, much as I try to avoid it –I think, well I’ve done it once, I can do it again, but of course that is not true at all and this brings arrogance’s arch nemesis in to fight–he goes by the hyphenated alias Self-Doubt. So these two battle it out while I get stuck writing and rewriting the same chapter over and over again, looping like a CD with a scratch.
It seems there is a simple and logical solution to the Second book blues and that solution is to simply move onto the third. This solution I anticipate to be as helpful as sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating ‘I can’t hear you’ when someone is attempting to give you criticism. It’s a fool proof plan!
At present I have a completed draft of a book titled Family Holidays and Other Natural Disasters, which is funny but otherwise just fluff. And I have half a completed (and drastic) rewrite of that book (Fake ID), which is more meaningful to me but not very funny and stylistically very difficult to write. And what I’ve realised is I just had to abandon ship, at least for the moment.
I’ve had this other idea for a book for many years now and it excites me so much more than Family Holidays/Fake ID ever did, so I’m just going to write it and I’m not going to worry too much about time and I’m not going to think about how people will react to it, I’m just going to write it and remember that I really enjoy writing. I’m also making time and getting serious with this book. I’ll write until I hit the end and I won’t get stuck like I did with my second book. Plus 3 is my lucky number so I know this will work out. I’ve cleared my schedule, so if you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because I’m attending a fictitious boarding school for delinquents deep in Australia’s outback. Just remember what they say– in the outback, no one can hear you scream, especially if you don’t have Telstra 3G coverage.