I never thought the second book I would finish would be harder to write than my first. But now that I've started another draft and it's even more difficult than anything I’ve done before, I often wonder why writing more and more books seems to get harder rather than easier. Of course certain aspects are easier, I know what cliches to avoid, what words to stay away from, how to show not tell and basically how to avoid the "rookie" writing mistakes. But the actual writing of the book, the completion of the draft seems to get increasingly difficult. So I started to think about why that is and came up with the following reasons:
Constantly stretching oneself.
As writers we strive to do better. Our goals get bigger, which means we tend to take on harder more complex concepts as we go. And with those bigger goals the mind often struggles to keep up. We start to wonder if we are reaching too high, if we’ve gone outside the realm of our capabilities. If we are in over our heads. All these questions can cripple the writing process, which leads directly into the next issue…
The more we write, the more the brain starts to catch up. The worry increases. We wonder can I really do this again? What kind of mess have I gotten myself into this time? Even worse, we think the rest of the world will discover the truth about us—that we have no freaking idea what we are doing. How long can we really fake it, and when will someone stand there with their finger pointed at us saying haha I caught you? The whole idea is completely daunting. All the self-doubt then leads to undue…
Naturally the more we write the more we expect ourselves to improve. In fact, so do our critique partners and our readers. Constantly getting better is important but it's also exhausting. And the thoughts that we constantly have to be better creep into the mind when writing that first draft. Which makes it ever so difficult to write and even harder to finish. We as writers have to step back and re-allow ourselves to have shitty first drafts. We are allowed to suck, and once we remember that it relieves some of the pressure. But with that pressure also comes the drive to…
Strive for uniqueness.
Strive for uniqueness.
They say every person has a book in them. And in many ways that first book is easy because the ideas just flow. Not that finishing is easy, in fact finishing my first book was the most difficult thing I’d ever done. But the more books we write, the more we have to pay attention to what we've done in the past, and continue to strive for something new and different. We don’t want to keep writing the same characters in new settings or new characters in the same situations that we've written about before. We want to write new characters with new stories and our readers want the same. We need to continue to push ourselves, but again it’s exhausting.
The good news is, we as writers aren’t alone. We all go through this. And once we diagnose the issues we are having, we can usually get right back into a draft. We can continue to better ourselves as writers and stretch our limits beyond what we thought possible.
So what are some of the things that make your writing more difficult and what do you do to carry on?