Writing Your Second Book

DSCN7835Well, as many of you will know if you’ve liked my Facebook Author Page, I have been stuck in my writing cave for some time now trying to finish writing my second book. For those of you that don’t know, this is the one that I wrote during NaNoWriMo in November 2013. I had no problem writing my 50,000 words that month and was so pleased that I’d got a second story on the go, even while I was still editing From Here to Nashville. In April 2014, I came back to Book 2 and while I was a bit unsure about the story so far, I was still pretty happy with the idea and so I wrote another 30,000 words. Yay!

Then From Here to Nashville  took over and I had no time to look at book 2 again until much later in 2014. When I did, I was certain that I no longer wanted to tell this story. I liked my main characters and a few of my minor characters but apart from that, not much else. I couldn’t even contemplate scrapping it so the only other option was to rewrite it, picking out what I liked from the 80,000 words already written and dumping what I didn’t like. Having made that decision, I then buried my head in the sand for the best part of the following five months because I couldn’t face the prospect of sifting the right words from the wrong ones.

As an indie author, I can make my own schedule so you’d think that this decision was a sensible one. I thought I could take my time, publish and promote From Here to Nashville and when things were a bit quieter, I could just go back to book 2 with a clear head. However, in the meantime, I signed up for my second year on the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme which meant that I could submit this second book for a professional report just like I did with From Here to Nashville. The only problem being that the deadline for submission is the end of August. In January, that seemed like loads of time. At the start of May, it seemed like a hair’s breadth.

It was at this point that I realised it was make or break time. So after our Nashville holiday, I made myself a plan. I would finish working through all the old material by the end of May and then I would commit to writing at least 1,000 words every day with a deadline of completion by the end of July. This would give me time to at least read it through myself before sending it off.

Suddenly, I felt set free to just write, even though I still hadn’t written a detailed outline. I had got something in place though and I just kept refining it as I went along. I am very pleased to say that I have been able to write a minimum of 1,000 words a day, sometimes, as many as 3,000 words in a day and I feel exhilarated to have reached this stage. I finally broke 80,000 words yesterday, something I honestly thought might never happen when I decided to rewrite. Still, I have made it and I am steaming towards the end now, well ahead of schedule.

I had hoped that I might finish the first draft before attending the RNA’s annual conference next weekend and it is still possible but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I still have plenty of time 🙂 When I read Michael Cairns’ guest post for my blog last week, I realised that this is what writing professionally is all about: building a habit. If you can do that, preferably (in my case) with an outline along side while you write, it can only get easier to write more.

Once the report comes back from the RNA and I have dealt with those edits, I will begin my editing process going through the drafts which I hope will be a bit quicker this time round. Then it will be time once again for professional editing, proofreading and cover design!

Thank you so much for reading as always and if you have any tips for the writing of your second book, do let me know in the comments below. Have a great writing week!

P.S. You can now buy signed paperback copies of From Here to Nashville from me directly! Just click on the sidebar 🙂

10 thoughts on “Writing Your Second Book

  1. Enjoyed this post, Julie – it’s interesting to see the juggling that the indie-author has to do. You are clearly developing effective writing habits and seem to be right on track. I’m envious of that 3,000 words in a single day! Have a great time at the RNA Conference.

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    • Thank you, Susanna. I really think that writing habit is key. It doesn’t matter how much you write – my daily target is now 1,000 words – just as long as you write something. 3,000 words is a rare occurrence but when you’re inspired, it can be possible! Thanks for your good wishes for the conference and for reading 🙂

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  2. I still find a writing habit difficult. More so since retirement which might seem odd. Life creeps in no routine now.
    I had to almost rewrite my second book because I had tried to be too clever with the POV, using a mix of first and deep third. The NWS reviewer (correctly) suggested a more simple form. I found that difficult whereas the third book which I have just finished was much more simple to write from scratch.
    Very best wishes for the review when you submit to NWS.
    I found this post about a writing habit inspirational. xx

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    • Thank you, Ros 🙂 It’s so hard when you’ve written a substantial amount already to try and rewrite. I probably got rid of about 40,000 words and that was painful enough 😦 I’m much happier with it now but it’s been a long slog. I really don’t want to start the next one without a proper outline but I’m going to need some real help with that, I think…Thanks for your good wishes and for saying the post was inspirational! 🙂

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  3. Well done Julie for getting this far. I also had to discipline myself for my 2nd book (currently with my beta readers), setting a target of a minimum of 1000 words a day. As an Indie writer there are so many social media distractions and I invariably found that I would be writing my 1000 words in the latter part of the day and then making a very late evening meal. Writing and promoting the first book can leave you exhausted so you have to find a way to keep going, which is what you have succeeded in doing. Good luck and best wishes in reaching your next goal. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Heather. It’s comforting to know that I’m not going through this on my own! Well done for getting your second book to that stage. Good luck to you too 🙂

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  4. I just had my NaNoWriMo 2013 published this month. It just takes some time to polish. Driving ourselves to write 50,000 in one months doesn’t mean they are great words. Now to continue with 2014’s project.

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    • Oh, that’s great. Good luck with it. I’ve always enjoyed NaNoWriMo and the Camps I’ve taken part in. They’re a good way of building that writing habit.

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