Writing Your Second Novel: How To Get Through It

By on July 12, 2016
Writing Your Second Novel: How To Get Through It - Writer's Life.org

There is a plethora of information out there to help first-time novelists get to grips with putting their initial draft down on paper, then refining and editing it, then sending it off to publishers. But once you have done all that, what do you do next?

Write your second novel of course!

Writing a second novel is an entirely different experience, and there is far less information out there about how to get through it.

So what can you expect when starting novel number two? Here are a few things to bear in mind:

It is just as tough as writing your first

You may think because you have successfully managed to write one novel that you’ll easily be able to bang out another.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like this. All the self-discipline required, the self-doubt, those awful the days where you feel as though you’ve hit a dead end, they all happen just as frequently as when you were beginning your first book.

However, there are some notable differences too. Writing a second book is rather like having a second child. You know what to expect, you know how much it took out of you and the commitment required to complete it, you know what do to at each and every stage. However, this knowledge doesn’t equate to ease, and because every novel, like every child, is different, you have no idea which parts are going to be tougher then you expected - regardless of how well you have prepared yourself.

You will be better

Writing your first novel is a huge achievement, and you may have been successful in publishing it or not. Regardless of this what it will have done is made you a better writer. Writing is a skill that takes practice to perfect, and so all that writing you did for your first book will have helped you greatly improve your writing skills. Use the lessons you learnt to help you write an even better book this time round.

There is always more to learn

Don’t think just because you have written one book, however successful, that you now know it all. Writers can never stop learning new things about their craft. You still have much to learn, and writing one book certainly doesn’t make you an experienced author by any stretch of the imagination. A good writer is always thirsty for knowledge and will always practice new skills, try to improve, and be experimental.

You are bound to make some of the same mistakes

Be it spelling mistakes, continuation errors or simply parts of your book that magically wander completely off topic, you will undoubtedly see some of the mistakes you made in your first novel rearing their ugly heads once again in your second. Try not to fret about this. No one is perfect, and that’s what the editing and redrafting stages are for!

You’ll feel like a proper author

When you’ve finished your second novel, and it is out there for the world to see (and buy) you’ll suddenly feel like a proper author. However successful either of your books become, there is something rather wonderful about a ‘see more by this author’ link that makes you feel like you’ve finally made it!

Writing your second novel is an adventure and can be as exciting, exhausting, frustrating and wonderful as your first. If you have a second novel in you then make sure you find the time to write it - the good news is that glorious feeling when you are finished, be it your first novel or your tenth - that never goes away!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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