Writing my second novel has been a ferocious two-year battle consisting of two strong-willed opponents; me versus my mind.
My second novel (working title: Meet Me in Blue Cove Bay) is not finished by any means but one stage of this great battle has ended; after two years I have finally finished writing the story I want to tell. I have lost count of the number of drafts, total rewrites and revisions. That inner nagging whisper has gone. You know when your novel is unfinished and you keep getting this nagging whisper which says, ‘that book won’t write itself.’
More battles lie ahead of me; editing, revising, polishing, querying and finding a route for publication. As authors we never give up fighting until the physical book is actually in our hands.
The two-year battle against my mind has taught me a lot about myself which I thought I would share:
- Patience. I thought I knew about patience when I wrote my first novel; Instructions For Falling In Love Again. I now laugh at this. My latest story wasn’t a fully formed story when the idea came to me back at the end of 2017. In fact the characters appeared first with no story. I have been through several different stories with these characters and frustratingly with each one I wasn’t happy. I got myself in a state because I wanted a second book. The search for the right story was painful. My mind kept telling me to shelve the characters but I couldn’t. At the start of this year I took a new approach. I stopped getting impatient with it, ignored my mind and waited…and waited…and waited. The story eventually appeared.
- To not believe everything my mind tells me. This is the biggie for me. You won’t believe the things my mind has told me about writing another book. The mind is a powerful and wonderful human tool however sometimes it starts to work against us. Oh, my goodness, my mind came up with so many untruths! Here goes:
- You are a one-trick pony.
- You can’t write another book.
- You have second book syndrome.
- You cannot go through all that again.
- You don’t have a good book idea.
- Your anxiety will get the better of you.
- Positive affirmations work for me. Things changed for me when I started getting up every morning and saying to myself, I am a good writer and I have finished writing my second novel. It was like magic. After a few weeks of saying this affirmation I started seeing good progress being made on my novel.
- Trust my creative process. I have written numerous blog posts on writing processes. We’re all different and so too are our creative processes. If I listen to my mind and try to force myself to work like other people my creativity dries up. My good friend and fellow romantic comedy author Bettina Hunt has showed me that writing is all about doing what works for you. Once I accepted and trusted my chaotic creative process things started to happen.
- Writing the end of a novel can be just as enjoyable as writing the start. I have never enjoyed writing the end of books and stories. In the past I think I have been exhausted and writing fatigued by the time I have reached the final quarter of a story. I have also struggled with endings. I don’t know why. This book has taught me that writing the end can be enjoyable. I actually slowed down on the last revision and found myself ENJOYING writing the end. Very satisfying.
Be brave, my friends, if you are starting out on a book writing journey.
I wonder what battles and adventures await for me with my third book. Long-standing readers of my blog will be pleased to know that Roxy Collins is keen for me to FINALLY write her story. 👠👙👜