I am near finishing up the next book.

It’s harder than the first for a lot of reasons:

1) I compare the first drafts of book 2 to the polished state of book 1. Naturally, book 2 comes up short.

2) When I feel great about book 1, I feel like I can never achieve something that good again. When I feel bad about book 1, I feel like I’m lousy at this in general so why bother.

3) Book 1 was written with the internal pressure of ambition. Book 2 is written with the external pressure of others’ expectations.

4) Book 1 used up YEARS of accumulated ideas. Book 2 has what’s leftover + anything new.

5) Book 1 hit the sweet spot somewhat by chance as I experimented. Book 2 has to hit it by calculation.

6) Book 1 could have been ANYTHING. Book 2 has to be something similar enough to book 1 to please the same audience, but different enough to be its own book.

7) Book 2, in this case a sequel, has to serve those coming in with expectations from book 1, AND those coming to it without the background of book 1.

8 ) Because of all the work I’ve been doing for book 1 (edits, promotion) simultaneous with working on book 2, I’ve been living with the story of book 2 for a long time. It’s tough to keep excited about a story for so long.

I have heard that book 2 is generally the hardest of a writer’s career. I believe it.

Can’t wait for book 3! I should know what I’m doing by then 😉

PS–adding one more:
9) Took me a long time to get enough perspective on book 1 to see its overall point and its shape. When I was up close and in the middle of it, it was hard for me to appreciate it as a whole. Now I’m in that stage with book 2. I know it will become a whole book to me in its own time; it’s just hard to trust it when I see it as so many pieces.