Often your first book is quite easy to get on with. You have a burning idea that won’t let you rest until you get it down in words and carefully shaped to perfection. You live with it for years, mulling it over in quiet moments, waking at night with new insights, considering every angle before it’s finally published and you start to think of yourself a s a real writer.
The second book is a very different prospect. Suddenly you’re under pressure to produce a finished manuscript in much less time to capitalise on the success of the first. That leisurely thought process that took years for the first book is telescoped into a hurried rush to plan and plot and pace, to find more of those magic characters that readers will love and give them a compelling narrative. But it’s still a joy to discover the story as it unfolds in your head. That’s why we write, isn’t it?
But now you’re a published author with certain commitments to fulfil. Readers are (you hope) eager for your next book, and they won’t wait forever. So can you deliver?
I’m currently stalled before starting my next book. Quite apart from being kept very busy with publishing other people’s books, I’m stalling on my own writing because I haven’t reached that critical mass necessary for the explosion of creativity. It’s like lighting a camp fire. You need plenty of small kindling, wood shavings, dry moss, and matches or a flint to make it catch light. I’m assembling those ingredients – setting, plot outline, one or two characters, but don’t yet have enough for my imagination to catch alight. I need that spark of passion for the idea that will carry me through the months of writing.
Perhaps I need to apply the blowtorch of penury to see a decent conflagration! Gotta get those Amazon cheques coming more often!
How long does it take you to get going on a book?
What do you do when inspiration needs a helping hand?