There are no easy methods of learning difficult things; the method is to close your door, give out that you are not at home, and work. ~Joseph de Maistre, French moralist and philosopher
“They” say once you’ve written one book, it’s easy to write another.
Don’t believe them … they lie.
My first book doesn’t come out for almost six weeks, yet I’m already struggling over the second one.
My characters won’t go where I lead. My plot has disintegrated more times than I can count. Who dies — and who lives — keeps changing.
“They” say you’re supposed to sit down, write a novel start to finish, then return to edit. Not edit as you go along.
Hmph! My writing is crablike. False starts that seem right, stop, back up, take a different path, work to another fork in the road, choose the left way, backtrack, and so on.
Yes, I know. If I outlined this wouldn’t happen.
“They” say you’re supposed to set a daily word count and do whatever it takes to meet it. Regardless of whatever else is pressing.
My daily word count can be way up there. Or not.
Some days I can’t write a word. Others, I tap out hundreds, just to toss them all out the next day when I opt for the opposite trail.
Meanwhile I feel antsy to get this book written. To start on the third, which I’m convinced will proceed more smoothly.
Call it Sophomore Novel Slump.
Here are some things I’m trying to combat it:
1. Don’t stress. Celebrate the victory of writing your first novel. Realize lots of folks never do that.
2. Take breaks. Sitting at the computer for too long a stretch can be counterproductive.
3. Get physical. Take a walk. Sit in the sunshine. Dance. Move. Exercise helps your brain work better.
4. Work with your style, not against it. If you love to outline, do so. If you hate it, find another method.
5. Look ahead. This, too, shall pass. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Any more advice — or cliches — you’d like to share?