author, creative writing, writing

The Things You Realise When Writing Your Second Novel

Writing is a journey, and each project you work on is its own adventure. Deciding to write a novel is a huge choice, and when done it’s a huge accomplishment. You learn so much…and before you know it, it’s over and it’s time to write another one. These are some of the things I realised when writing novel two.

1. Finishing a project is so important
Writers will start many projects. And they’ll leave many unfinished. Finishing a novel is so important though. You know it at the time, but you realise it even more once you start writing the second novel. You have a clearer sense of the process, a better idea of what to expect and how many edits you’ll need to make. Finishing projects is the only way to ensure you practice every part of the journey, leaving you better equipped for each new novel you write.
novel writing

2. You’re a stronger writer than before
You grow all the time as a writer. Every time you put pen to paper you are practicing your craft, growing your skills and learning new techniques. You notice it when you’re writing your second novel. You feel stronger. And hey, if you don’t feel it I assure you, you are.
novel writing (1)

3. It’s still difficult
Yeah…being a stronger writer doesn’t make it easier. You still have to plot and plan, name characters, find the time to write, delete scenes, add scenes, screw up notes and launch them at the wall, write more, push through writers block, beat the slumps, edit, edit and edit some more. It’s not an easy process. Writing novel two made me realise it’s still difficult. (But still wonderful!)
novel writing (2)

4. You’re still figuring out your style
Your first novel isn’t necessarily the genre you’ll be strongest in or enjoy the most. It’s always okay to change your preferences and write the story you want to tell regardless of labels and expectations. My first novel was a crime/mystery thriller. The novel I’m working on now is more of a psychological thriller. But I’ve unfinished projects in fantasy, and YA. Your second novel is still early days, and you’re still finding the style you enjoy the most.
novel writing (3)

5. Your first novel needs more work
A slightly different one here, but still a realisation for some. When you write novel two you realise novel one needs more work. That was the case for me anyway. The more I write the more I find myself discovering ways I could strengthen my first novel. It’s frustrating at times, but mostly it’s exhilarating and an exciting learning curve.
novel writing (4)

6. You have another chance
If you queried your first novel, sent it out to agents and publishers, you may have been met with rejections. It’s not uncommon for some writers to withdraw a novel from submissions with the intention to work on it, or simply try again. Having a second novel in the works is your second chance to submit to your dream agents, offering something stronger and potentially even better.
novel writing (5)

7. You are a committed writer
From the moment you pick up a pen and write, you are a writer. From the moment you pick up that pen and write again you are committed. But I wanted to add this point, because writing a novel is hard. It is long, it can be exhausting, it’s a challenge. And here you are, doing it all over again. That’s pretty amazing!
novel writing (6)

What did you learn during the writing of your second book? And beyond that? I’d love to hear your thoughts so do share them below,

Until then,
Keep writing,

I love to chat all things writing over at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


31 thoughts on “The Things You Realise When Writing Your Second Novel”

  1. The second thing I’ve started writing is a direct sequel to the first so it saved me the need to name a whole new set of characters. On the other hand, it gave me some ideas that made the first one better by knowing where are some characters heading.
    The learning curve is there, though I am often oblivious to it – until I directly compare newer passages with some archived drafts of #1.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It might not work for everyone but, for me, deciding to write the trilogy all at once was a good move – I can keep track of all the small things and make sure I don’t miss something that would be hard to retrospectively edit in released books.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. About a week ago someone asked why I would want to subject myself to something so hard. My answer was a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. We’re all draw to this crazy thing and we don’t really know why.

    Everything you mentioned applies to all of us and we’re okay with that. In fact, we embrace it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Trying to make time to write? πŸ˜‰ When it happens, I’m working on WW2 historical fiction- I’ve got one that I’m hoping to launch this spring (which is terrifying!) and the second one which needs so, soooo much work…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t number 5 the ever loving truth! I look at 1 vs 2 and my first novel, which good, needed a lot of work. I pulled it about a month ago, and went through and cleaned it up. Despite proof readings and etc, there was still a ton of typos, and I to make matters worse I was wordy. I had to apply something I learned along the way (why use ten words to describe something when three will do). by the time I republished it, it was forty pages and somewhere around twenty thousand words lighter. I’ll be I could trim another ten pages and maybe another five to ten thousand words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m taking Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass right now and in one of the lessons he says something I think speaks to point #1: “You learn more from finishing a failure than you do from writing a success.” It’s simple, and maybe kind of obvious, but I found it profound.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! All of this are true β€”Β and they become even more true (Truer? apparently writing books hasn’t taught me which one is the right word…) the more books you write. I’ve learned so much from all the books I’ve written (finished and unfinished) and I don’t think I could have written the WIP I’m in love with now if it weren’t for years of learning and trying.

    Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

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