Things That Go Through an Author’s Mind While Writing the Second Book

Things that Go Through an Author’s Mind While Writing the Second Book

Lori Rader-Day


RaderDay2Sophomore slump is not a real thing, right? Right?

Sophomores were always better than freshmen.

At least they don’t call authors one-hit-wonders….wait. Do they? Oh, my God, I bet they do on reddit.

Hey, Edgar Allan Poe. Margaret Mitchell. Emily Brontë. They only wrote one novel apiece! I’ll just coast on the success of my first novel as long as I can, no problem. One novel is fine. One novel gives you a place in history. John Kennedy Toole—oh, wait. Bad example. Harper Lee! Crap. Did I say Edgar Allan Poe?

I should have started writing this book earlier. I mean, I started writing it the minute the first one was done, but I should have invented a time machine and then gone back in time to start this book earlier.

What was that cartoon where the boy and the dog went back through time? Hello, Google.

Time to check the old Amazon ranking.

Why didn’t I plan a trilogy? Trilogies are nice, and then I wouldn’t have to start from scratch.

What do you call a set of four books? To the internet!

“Tetralogy” is a very satisfying word. I wish I’d planned one of those.

How many words have I got down so far?

Ah, hell.

RaderDayOK, time to get serious. What did I do last time when I was stuck? Did I get stuck? Is this the time, the time the book won’t get written, the time it all falls apart and people know that I don’t have it, whatever it is, and they come back and take away the book I already published so that I can’t even call myself an author anymore? They’ll use the time machine I invented to go back in time and tsk tsk over me as I try to write my first novel and they’ll tell me “Don’t even bother, kid. You’re not going to make it.”

One more cup of tea couldn’t hurt.

Could it? Web MD says…oh my God. How can every road lead to death, Dr. Google?

OK, what kind of advice would I give to someone else? I would say you have to write the book without the internal editor engaged. Do an Anne Lamott, man. Get it out there.

Let’s check over at Goodreads—oh, dear. That’s a nasty thing to say about my first book. Fine. I’m going to fix everything that was wrong with the first book in this book. It’s going to be so much better, just blow the whole thing out of the water. A chance to get it right.

Oh, a good review on Amazon. That’s so nice. *Facebook share.* The next book is never going to be as good as the first one. I’m screwed.

Back to the document. Obviously you are such a child. Why didn’t we ever learn discipline? Where did my parents go wrong on discipline? I was raised by wolves.

Oh. What if I wrote a book about—

No. Here. Now. Write. Tappa tappa tappa on the keyboard. Stop thinking about all the things that have gone right and all the things that could go wrong. There is only one thing you can control and that is this. Doing the work, writing the words. I probably told myself the same thing last time, and it worked. This is how we do it.

One more cup of tea couldn’t hurt. Could it?