The 6 Challenges of Writing a Second Novel

Writing your first story is a special experience. It brings many difficulties and challenges, but it also tends to carry itself (and you) along with a sense of passion, fun, and discovery. When we finish it, we may think, Well, it can only get easier from here, right? But as many sophomore writers can attest, writing a second novel is often an entirely different experience. It may be easier in some ways than the first, but in others, it is often surprisingly and even bewilderingly more difficult.

In my own experience, it wasn’t so much my chronological second novel that was a different experience but my second published novel. Third and fourth novels are also their own unique experiences, but that second novel can be a significant hump for writers to get over, not merely in the terms of actually writing it and making sure it is as good or better than the first one, but perhaps even more particularly in the psychological aspects of the process.

6 Unique Challenges of Writing a Second Novel

A while back, reader Eratta Sibetta wrote to me about this problem:

I am … an author (Soft in Flowers) and am now working on my second novel. My problem is that the Second Novel seems more daunting and much harder to write. I don’t get why this is? I have outlined all the chapters but it seems like the writing experience for my first novel is just so overwhelming and overpowering. I hardly think I will manage to achieve the same level of sharpness with this second book. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

Behold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland

Behold the Dawn (Amazon affiliate link)

I don’t believe Eratta is anywhere close to being alone in finding the sophomore novel to be more difficult. I know this was certainly true for me in writing Behold the Dawn back in 2005 (and may I just say holy mackerel, I can’t believe it’s been that long!). Part of the struggle is, I think, what Eratta termed the “overwhelming and overpowering” experience of the first novel, in all the best ways. We tend to have lived a bit longer with the first novel—because, at that point, it’s the only one. We pour all the parts of ourselves into it. By the time we get to the second book, we don’t always feel as if we have as much to say. Plus, we’re usually more educated about the process at that point and, thus, sometimes find it more complicated (and perhaps even less fun).

For some of us, we may find one book was really all we wanted to write. But for most of us, the fact that we’re trying to write a second book at all is a sign this is a path upon which we must learn how to soldier on. Here are six of the challenges I see writers routinely facing when writing a second novel.

1. Your Audience Is No Longer Theoretical

This was one of the “shockers” for me in moving from being an unpublished author to a published one. I had written four novels before publishing my first, so technically my “second” published book was in fact my sixth. But the sophomore blues still hit me pretty hard, and one of the biggest shifts was that, suddenly, I was no longer writing into the ether. I was writing for people who would respond, have opinions, leave reviews, and take personal possession of my characters. My writing would be weighed and measured, and I would be accountable for what I said to far more people than just myself. However much we may long for just that, it’s still a lot of pressure and a totally different environment into which to be pouring our hearts onto the page.

2. You Gave “Everything” to the First Book

When we write the first book, it’s the only one—and we give it everything we’ve got. It gets our best ideas (maybe even all of our ideas at the time), our rawest emotional power, and the first rush of all our artistic enthusiasm. We leave it all on the field. What does that leave for Book #2 that won’t feel second-best or rehashed?

Last Night (affiliate link)

I have always been struck by the perspective of Keira Knightley’s author character in the movie Last Night, in which she discusses with an old boyfriend her writer’s block with her second book:

Alex: So why aren’t you writing?

Joanna: I am writing.

Alex: No. Why aren’t you writing? … Your book, Joanna.

Joanna: My editor says that I just need to get over my doubts.

Alex: What do you doubt?

Joanna: Everything, Alex. I go to write and every word, every thought, every choice that I make leads to another and I doubt every single one I make. It wasn’t like this last time. You live with your first book all your life. It’s sort of—it comes out on its own. After that, though, it’s different. You can suddenly write anything, and you second-guess everything.

3. Your Relationship to the Inspiration May Be Different

Why did you decide to write the first book? Every writer has a different reason. But for many of us it was because some burst of inspiration struck us—perhaps something that had been building inside of us for a long time. Sometimes lightning strikes twice, and we get that same experience with the second book. But often we finish the first book, and even if we have an inkling of what we want to write about next, we don’t necessarily feel it in the same way. Certainly, the incubation period may be shortened. My early story ideas were ones I lived with for years before writing them; later ones inevitably got (and, frankly, needed) much less time.

4. You Know More Now (aka, You May Now “Know You Don’t Know”)

Another major hang-up for many people in writing a second novel is that suddenly they know way more about writing than they did before. One of the reasons I think I didn’t have “sophomore novel syndrome” until writing what was, in fact, my sixth book was that I wrote most of those books when I was too young and unaware to realize there was a technique to writing. Once I started learning about “how to write,” everything changed. My writing got a lot better, but it also got a lot harder. The irony is that, in the early days of your writing education, the first thing you know is often that you don’t know. In short, you’re now responsible for a greater deal of knowledge than you were before.

5. You Feel Pressured to “Live Up” to Being an Author Now

When you wrote your first book you had absolutely nothing to live up to. After writing it, a lot changes. Particularly if you published that book, you now have an audience to please, a story already out there that you need to equal or perhaps surpass, perhaps contracts to fulfill, perhaps even bills to pay. At its simplest, the biggest different between you as a writer of your first book and you as a writer of your second book is that now you “have written.” From this point on, you will always be someone who “wrote a book.” In some ways, that brings the confidence of experience. But especially in the second go-round, it can also feel like a lot to live up to.

6. You’re Tired, Maybe Even Burned Out

Writing a book is no mean feat. Particularly if you were under any kind of deadline on your first book, you may well have spent months or even years hammering your passion onto the page. Much of that will have been exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting. If you pushed hard, you may even be feeling some burnout. If you dive straight into Book #2, part of the struggle may simply be that you’re tired. A little break to refurbish your energy and inspiration can do wonders for resetting.

7 Ideas for How to Make Writing a Second Novel Easier

Challenges or not, you’re probably here reading this because you are going to finish this second book and that’s that. Sometimes just recognizing why something is hard can go to surprising lengths in easing some of the pressure. But if you find you are struggling with your second story (or any story, really), the following seven tips may prove helpful.

1. Tell Yourself No One Ever Has to Read It

This was the magic pill for me when I was writing what would be my second published novel. Although, of course, my desire was to publish the book eventually, I knew the most important thing was just to finish it—for my own sake—whether or not I ever published it. I also knew I’d have an easier time writing the story I wanted to write, with honesty and vulnerability, if that small scared part of my writing brain felt safe. So I promised myself (and meant it) that no one would read this book if I didn’t want them to. I wrote it, it turned out better than my first published book, and of course I did publish it. But in cutting myself some slack early on, I was able to recapture some of the freedom I’d experienced in writing the earlier books that had been just for me.

2. Consciously List and Address Fears

Writer’s block is often fear-driven. Especially if you’re now swimming in the brave new waters of being a published author, you may find there is a lot out there to overwhelm you. Write a list of anything that is causing you anxiety. Give the scared or shaming voice in your head a chance to have its say.

Maybe you’re afraid that you just got lucky with that first book and that you’ve “lost” whatever talent you had. Or maybe you’re afraid readers will dislike certain characters or find your research wanting. Maybe you’re afraid you won’t make your deadline or fulfill your publishing contract. Maybe you’re afraid you’re wasting your time and that no one will ever buy this book. Whatever it is, write it down.

Sometimes just the act of consciously acknowledging the buzzy cloud of anxiety in the backs of our brains is enough. But you can also go the extra step and burn or bury the paper as a symbol to your subconscious that these thoughts no longer have power in your life.

3. Consciously List and Address Actual Problems

Anxiety is one thing; actual problems are another. As part of the previous list or as a new one altogether, write down anything and everything that is bothering you about the actual writing and story of this book. Are your worries about readers disliking a certain character valid? Listen to your gut, not your fears (the most trustworthy intuition is neutral, without emotion). Then put on your writer’s cap and brainstorm ways to actually address the issues in your story.

It’s important not to flail away at a story, editing and editing it, simply because you having a nagging feeling that something might be wrong with it. Rather, use what you learned in writing the first book, and drill down to name your own true feelings and instincts about any problems—and how you can constructively fix them.

4. Take a Break

This one will be entirely subjective to each individual writer, but you might consider taking a break between writing (or publishing) the first book and starting the second. Let the experience of writing the first book digest in your system for as long as you can. Ignore any pressure from the outside (excepting contract deadlines, of course) or from yourself, and wait until you’re really feeling the urge to get back to the page.

People often ask me what one piece of advice I’d give my young writer self when I was just starting out. In all honesty, there wouldn’t be much I’d say, since most of my actual writing mistakes were steps along the path of maturation. But one thing I would try to tell my stubborn overachieving little self would be that inspiration and creativity are gifts that must be nurtured—not limitless resources to be plundered. If you’re in this lifestyle for the long haul, you want your focus to be on the quality of your own experience rather than the quantity of your output. Care for your creativity like it is the most precious thing in your life—because it probably is.

5. Feed Your Mind and Imagination With New Resources and Material

Particularly if you lived with your first book for a long time, it may have benefited from a lifetime’s worth of resources, research, and inspiration. So while you’re taking a break to stave off the burnout between books, make use of that time to fill yourself up with goodness. Don’t flog your brain trying to learn every writing trick and rule there is. Rather, focus on filling the well with whatever inspires you and makes you feel good. I would posit that this becomes all the more important the longer you are a writer and the more books you write.

6. Focus on What You Learned Writing the Previous Book

In some ways, the first book may have been more fun (or not) because you didn’t know as much. But in other ways, you are now much more prepared to write a better first draft. Without judging or punishing yourself for mistakes you may have made in writing the first book, examine what you’ve learned. Congratulate yourself for the broadening perspective that now allows you see things you might have done differently back then, and pay conscious attention to how you can now proactively apply these lessons in writing this second book.

In many ways, the second (and third) books may be some of the most difficult you will ever write. They are your “learning” stories, in which you are broadening your understanding of story at a rate greater than perhaps any other time in your life. Embrace their challenges and use them as rungs up the ladder to writing better and better books down the line.

7. Go Easy on Yourself—But Don’t Give Up

If you find yourself struggling in writing a second novel, resist the urge to judge or criticize your experience. You may sometimes feel that because this book is harder—or even just different—than the previous one that something must be “wrong.” I can all but promise you this is not the case. Your experience in writing this second novel is simply part of the learning process and the writing path. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, and your experience in writing this book is right on track.

Part of the experience may well be that writing a second novel is hard. Accept that and go easy on yourself. One of the aphorisms of my writing life is that “every book is its own adventure.” Don’t try to force the process of writing a second novel to look just like that of the previous book. If you need to take it easier or slower, do so.

But don’t give up either. Recognize and accept that this book is as hard to write as it is—no more, no less. Face its challenges and keep going. Eventually, you’ll reach the end of this book, and you’ll move on to the equally unique adventure of Book #3.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! If you are writing a second novel, or have written one in the past, how are you finding it a different experience from your first book? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. I can attest to all the positives you have put here because they did help me in writing my second novel. Plus, I took the criticisms from my first novel on board and it helped me more in writing my second novel and it turned out to be far better than the first one. Now, I just need something to motivate me more in writing my third.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yep, as I say, every novel is it’s own adventure. Just when you think you have enough experience to make the trip easy, you find you have to take a new route altogether!

  2. Hi as I’m unpublished I can’t comment personally but a friend of mine spent a long time on her first book and luckily got a 3 book deal when they accepted it but she struggled with second book because she was under pressure to meet the deadline, (they wanted it 12 months after the first). She also gave up her job after the first book and the writing routine she had for first book – thinking while walking to the train station, making notes on the train and writing in the evenings – was missing for her second book and she had to find a new routine. She finished second book but she said it wasn’t a happy experience. Thankfully by the time she got to book 3 she’d overcome the hurdles and is now on book 5.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I would imagine all these sophomore challenges would only feel more exacerbated when under a contract deadline. It’s hard enough without either!

  3. I think one, two, three, and six of the challenges are also true of the second novel in a series. I’m struggling with those challenges now despite this being my fifth published novel. I really shot myself in the foot by announcing to my newsletter that I was writing this book. I wrapped up the first book nicely, and it didn’t need a second one. I loved the characters so much I wanted to play with them again and decided to turn it into a series. Now I’m worried the characters will feel stale and the story is not living up to the first one. It seems like work rather than fun. I’ve also been sick during much of this second novel, my mother died, and I’m really tired. I’m in the horrible second act, and the book is fighting me every step of the way. As I’m writing this, looking at it, I’m thinking I need to do what you suggested and take a step back and refill my well.

  4. JJ Burgess says

    I was lucky enough to sign a 2 book deal and my first book became a best seller. However, for my second book I just couldn’t find the motivation to write and spent a few days staring at a blank screen. I took 3 months off writing; which included thinking about writing, characters, plots etc. After the 3 month break I’m now flying through my second book and really enjoying it.

  5. Great topic. Great lists!

  6. Lynn Johnson says

    One of the key problems I’ve found in writing my 3rd novel is that you are actually working on three books simultaneously. – promoting the first two and writing the third. This is especially so if you are not experienced in marketing and promo. It’s something I never considered when I wrote book one!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good point. If you’ve published your previous novel(s), that’s one more major addition to your workload and attention span.

    • calwriter2 says

      Bingo! Having just published my first novel, I’m torn between spending my time promoting it, or writing the second (in a 3-book series). Skye Warren (Author Ads Intensive) says advertising is often a waste of money if you don’t have a back-list to sell, as well as the new book in your ads.

      For unknown authors, our 1st book languishes invisibly in Amazon’s list dungeon. No one will ever see it, if you don’t advertise and sell to more than your friends & family. Yet, I’d rather write the next two books than spend time marketing on social media, etc. So it’s a tough choice between the desire to sell many copies of the first book and the joy of just writing.

  7. I’m in the throes of this very thing and grateful for this post which clarifies a lot of what I’ve been grappling with. After a full draft of book #2, I knew I had sidestepped some mandatories (pretending to not know what I’d learned, you know how badly that goes) and so I had to go back to the drawing board. After a lot of hard work–and a lot of help from your outlining techniques and Scrivener templates–I feel much happier with the state of things. Just yesterday I thought, “If I can pull of #2 then I can pull off #3, 4, 5, 6, 7.”

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      There you go. It’s so easy to doubt ourselves, and yet when you’ve already finished a book, the proof is in the pudding that you *can* do this again.

  8. It was later than my 2nd, but I definitely got “the yips” in my brain. I used to be pleased if I simply got words on the page, but now I know all the things I should be doing! I have no excuse for a lame story! I’ve got author friends and readers who expect me to be better. Yikes. But I like this advice best of all: go easy on yourself and don’t give up.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, as I said, it was actually my sixth book that tripped me up. I do think the fact that I’d published the previous book had a lot to do with it for me, but there were other factors as well.

  9. This was a very reassuring article. To start with, as I struggle to finish my first novel, I have three trunk novels, and I’ve always a little weird about that, but you had four, so I’m in good company. I’m also happy to see this out there waiting for me to take advantage of it.

    This is really where I should just be quiet, but one thing I dread is the fact that once I have a novel out there, I’m going to have to put time into marketing. So I’m going to have to change how I use my writing time, and I anticipate that being a challenge while diving into my next novel. I’m also going to have to deal with whatever responses I get to the first novel, and if it actually sells well, I’m sure there will be people who don’t like it. But I still look forward to the day when I have these problems.

    Thanks for another encouraging and useful article.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Marketing is its own adventure. Some people love it. I think it’s important to be clear about your goals, make it as fun as possible, and don’t push yourself beyond what you really need to do to accomplish those goals.

  10. “We tend to have lived a bit longer with the first novel—because, at that point, it’s the only one. We pour all the parts of ourselves into it. By the time we get to the second book, we don’t always feel as if we have as much to say.”

    Oh, boy, can I relate to this. I think I put too much of my ideas, energy, and passion into the first one because the second and third felt like trying to grow a garden in spent soil.

    “For some of us, we may find one book was really all we wanted to write.”

    I’ve been afraid that I might just be a one trick pony. Depressing but true. I still look forward to journaling, but I just have this block against writing fiction at the moment. Hopefully if the “soil” receives some serious composting then I might churn out a few more stories. Writing the first one was glorious fun, tho.

    Thanks for being honest about the writing process! I can always find help and understanding on this website. Keep on sharing with the rest of us!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      As I’ve written about in other posts over the last few years, I got major writer’s block when trying to start what would have been (and might still be) my twelfth book. I ended up taking what ultimately amounted to several years off, complete with a lot of fear and trembling that that was “it”–that I was done and, underneath it all, really didn’t want to write any more.

      I wish I’d been easier on myself about taking that break in the first place, since I wasted a lot of time and stress with my internal resistance to the fact I was taking a break at all. But time has helped me sort through my feelings, and I find that I do in fact want to write again. In fact, I’m planning to get back to the WIP I abandoned as early as next month perhaps.

      The point being… just because you don’t want to write right now doesn’t mean you’ll never want to do it wholeheartedly again.

  11. My second book was a challenge because I hadn’t intended to write the second with the same character but that is what the publisher suggested. So, I might have written the first one differently if I had known that! But the second is published and now I have to think about the third and last in the series–still another set of challenges! How do I “wrap up” her story with a satisfying end for my readers? Kind of a rhetorical question but any thoughts are welcome!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I hear you. I got majorly stuck writing the third sequel to a book I originally intended as a standalone. I’m still working through the challenges myself. If I come up with any great epiphanies along the way, I will certainly post about it.

  12. “(the most trustworthy intuition is neutral, without emotion)” <- THIS!

    I expected writing the first draft of my second novel to be easier, and felt it was so unfair that it turned out to be harder than writing the first draft of my first novel. Much harder. But I finished the first draft anyway.

    I haven't published any of my original novels yet (I've posted a fanfic novel online, maybe that should count as my first novel and not my original stories). My goal is to get three novels, if not in final draft, then at least very far along before I self-publish so that I can focus on publishing/marketing/etc. when the time comes and be able to promise a firm schedule for the first three books (all in the same series). On the flipside, that means I'm giving myself permission now to let the second (and third novel, which I haven't even begun drafting yet) take the time they need, without a firm deadline. It also gives me a chance to tighten up the continuity (nothing in the second novel draft breaks continuity with the first novel, but now that I know more about the second novel, there are small adjustments I want to make to novel #1 to improve continuity).

    This makes me wonder what it will be like to write my first novel (perhaps novel #4) after I have something published…

  13. I’m working on the second book of a series, and it’s been hard going. It’s taken me a long time to start on this one for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. But I’ve been focusing on what I already know about writing, and the characters, and taking it in small steps. One thing at a time, slow and steady writes the book. Thank you for this post. It’s always good to know we’re not alone in whatever stage of work we’re in.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “One thing at a time, slow and steady writes the book.”

      We so often forget this, but it is so true.

  14. (You might want to correct a typo in #6: you are now much more prepared to writer a better first draft)

  15. Writing my first novel was a little bit of magic. I had so much hope as to how good the story would be and how well it would be received. After publishing it’s just been one disappointment after another, to make a long story short. It felt like receiving one slap after another in the face, so now I find myself asking, “Why go through that again?”.

    And the desire to create is still there, I’ve written two rough drafts for the second book. But I lack the same motivation I used to have, to edit and improve this thing. It’s like the old science example: if a tree falls in a forest, but nobody sees or hears it, did it really fall? So, if I write and finish this thing mainly for myself, should I even bother?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m quite fond of the Anne Lamott quote: “Publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.”

      I think it’s a matter of getting crystal clear on your motivations. I’ve always said I would write even if I were sure no one would read me. But not all writers feel that way, and there’s nothing wrong with being clear on that, acknowledging it, and moving on to something you’ll find more rewarding. Without question, writing *is* a roller-coaster lifestyle, full of many disappointments and challenges. But it can also bring so many rewards in and of itself–a little bit of magic, as you say, as long as you can figure out how to hang onto it.

  16. Colleen F Janik says

    I have a few favorite authors whose novels I’ve read over the years and they are all very consistent in their style, so I know I can count on these authors every time. I assumed that would always be the case.
    Now I have to place that same expectation on myself, and so far all of my novels are very different. I guess I’m having a hard time locking myself into one particular genre, which I suppose I need to do.
    So far I haven’t been confident enough in any of my work to send it out for publication. There is one I’m working on, that I’m absolutely excited about, so if I have to chose one of my “children” to send out, it would be this one. I guess that’s where I start, but what do I do for an encore???
    There are some authors who have written one GREAT novel (as far as I’m concerned), for example, Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” I guess most of us want to feel that we can be successful, prolific writers. I just have this theory that I need to put my ‘star’ out there first, and then hope that my readers will trust me find a way to their heart everytime.
    I like to read such a variety of genres, so my writing naturally follows I guess.
    What do you do if you can’t commit yourself to one genre?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My fiction is all over the place in terms of genre, to the point that this sort of hodge-podge has rather *become* my genre. Even still, there is a common theme and style to all my stories that mark them as mine. I don’t ever expect to be a huge genre bestseller with this approach, but I’d much rather have the freedom to write what I want.

  17. Denise Greene says

    “You can suddenly write anything, and you second-guess everything.” That’s it in a nutshell for me. I’m a Libra who has a difficult time with decisions anyway, and when those decisions involve every single sentence, it can be excruciating. I will definitely try some of your remedies above.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I saw a sign once that I resonated with that said, “Hold on a minute while I overthink this.” :p

  18. Ack! I had to look over my shoulder to make sure you hadn’t secreted a camera back there. I’m actually past my 2nd book, but I certainly feel like I’m not – feeling all of the above. Thanks so much for the insights and advice. Looking forward to trying these out!

  19. Just the encouragement I needed. Thanks. My first novel was a good book. I think so, and my reviewers (mostly) think so. My second novel is done and I’m doing the final revisions. But I don’t think it is anywhere near as good as the first one. Maybe it is, but it doesn’t seem like it to me. I’m not sure if this is a point you intended to make, but my take-away from your post is to get the darn thing published and out there and see what happens. After all, since I am publishing in via Amazon KDP, I can always use critical reviews to make it better and republish it.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s the nice thing about self-publishing. You can always make changes as you go.

  20. Rebecca Rhoads ( says

    As usual, you hit a homer. This post came right as I was struggling with the first draft of a second novel since being contracted for publication of my debut. Several points really stood out to me, the first being the emotional investment of the debut novel. For three months I couldn’t find one bit of energy to put into the next manuscript. I knew what I wanted to write; I simply could not find the energy to get going. Second was the expectation that what I write should be as polished as the final draft of the debut work. (Ridiculous, of course. I’m over that, thank God.) Third, I felt an overwhelming responsibility to my readers. Paralyzing, in fact. The fears piled on high and deep. I wrote them down as you suggested and literally laughed at myself. It was all so silly, yet I’d allowed all the niggling negatives to supplant the earnest effort of sitting at my computer and writing. Thanks so much, Katie, for addressing this. It’s helped me more than you can know. Rebecca Rhoads, author, The Leavings (2023 release).

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Congrats on your books! And thanks very much for sharing this. I’m sure many people can relate to the specificity of your struggles. Glad things are going better for you!

  21. So much I can relate to here; both in the post and in the comments.

    My debut novel was never intended to be anything but a stand-alone. A couple of author connections who read it said I should write a series do I started work on book 2 right away.

    My biggest problem was that I’d killed off my central character in the finale, so I decided on a prequel, going back one generation. Boy, did I make it hard by doing that! I had births, deaths, marriages etc (all chronicled in book1) that I had to tie in without losing impetus in the story.

    I’m finally at the point of finishing the first draft (I tend to edit as I go—I can’t help myself) after almost a year. Fingers crossed for a release date soon (ish).

  22. I’m not published yet. I’ve written the manuscript for what I thought would be my first novel; however, the more I thought about the characters’ backstories, the more I realized there was a book there, too. Now, I’m writing that novel as Book One and have the original book simmering on the back burner as Book Two. Is this turn of events common with first-time authors?

  23. sanityisuseless says

    I feel like this except it’s my final draft, not second novel. I told myself that I’ll have it done by the end of the year – because if I don’t, I’ll try to keep fixing forever.

  24. sanityisuseless says

    I think I’m bumping into this and I’m only on the third draft of my first….

  25. Everything you mentioned here is spot on! I wrote my first novel—and though it was a difficult and lengthy process, I pushed through and didn’t really second-guess myself nearly as much as I feel I will in my second novel. Just putting the proverbial pen to paper seems so daunting and exigent in its energy output, which I feel I lack at the moment. I suppose the only way to do it is to do it. It needs to be simple and without the trappings of constant self-doubt. Thank you for this article. It has helped.


  1. […] The 6 Challenges of Writing a Second Novel […]

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