Hello, everyone. There has been a lot going on in my part of the atmosphere over the past few months, like weddings to go to and being a part of, family members getting diagnosed with non-fatal types of cancer, and going after and getting rejected by another job opportunity. While all of that’s been going on, I’ve been writing. More specifically, I’ve been working on book number two.
As you may recall, I finished the second draft of my first novel back at the end of May. I took some time off then began a new work. It’s been an interesting experience, to say the least, and I’m already heading toward the first draft finish line (at least I think I am.) All throughout writing this second book, I’ve been scared and nervous but also have felt free and incredibly excited. It also occurred to me that not too many writers discuss what it’s like to write a second book, at least not that I’ve heard of. So that’s what we’re going to do today.
It doesn’t get easier; it gets different.
It’s an easy assumption to make, but it’s a dangerous one. The thing about starting a new project is that is is new. You head into uncharted territory, even if you have built your world and know your characters. Your story grows at a different pace and different aspects of you and your story are at work as opposed to your other book(s).
I didn’t understand this at first and it was incredibly frustrating. I kept sitting down and expecting to make as much progress with book two as I did with book one. I kept expecting my new story to conform to the standards I set myself and, to an extent, my old story set on me. That wasn’t getting me anywhere. It wasn’t until I shifted my mentality, let go of my own expectations, and let myself get into the rhythm of this story that I was able to make any sort of progress with it. As I read over this paragraph, I realize it sounds really abstract, so I’ll give you an example. With book one, I was able to sit down and write two to four fairly clean (that is, polished) pages a day. With book two, I’ve been able to write between six to eight somewhat polished pages two or three times a week. While this means the manuscript is less polished, I’ve been able to write faster. And the sooner I finish, the sooner I can revise. As I said earlier, it doesn’t get easier, it becomes different. And it’s important to work with those differences instead of against them.
Don’t be afraid to try new things since things are new anyway.
This goes off my first point, but with a focus more on you, the writer, instead of your story. Starting another book can be a time for experimentation as well as embarking on a new adventure. You can try plotting your whole book out before ever putting a word down (which is what I did and though it was painful, it’s been incredibly helpful.) Or you could do the opposite. Just start wherever and see what happens and where it takes you. You can try writing with music or with silence, depending on what you normally do. You can try using a new writing implement, such as using a pen and paper if you normally write on a computer or vice versa if you normally don’t. Instead of using a pencil with this project, I’ve been writing with green pens. There’s really no significance behind the color choice since that’s what I had around. I didn’t think it would make that much a difference, but it does. Ink flows much better against paper than pencil lead and it’s also much easier on your hands. Am I going to draft all my future projects in pen in the future? Who knows. Ask me when I post about book three (which might happen sooner than you imagine.)
While everything else can be different, the essentials are the same.
What, why, what with, where, and when you write can all change between one book and another. What doesn’t change is the how of writing a book. You put down one word down at a time. And that’s the most comforting thing.
I hope this helps all my fellow writers. You can do it! That’s all for now. Bye.