I’m working on a sequel. It’s going to be great, better than the first, I tell myself with all the enthusiasm I can muster. The problem is, when I sit down to write it, fingers poised at the ready above the keyboard, I freeze.
I’m not the only victim of second-bookitis. I recently read Prodigy, the spellbinding, completely irresistible sequel to the talented Marie Lu’s Legend. I love reading Lu, because I feel there needs to be more strong male voices in YA, and her Day character is definitely a strong voice. Anyway, in her acknowledgements, she admitted to sobbing at her computer in the process of writing the second book. I have to say, I can relate.
I’ve never had writer’s block before. The Teen Mobster Series just flowed from one book to the next, each segment of the story taking the main character, Danny, to a whole new level of fighting crime and making tough choices. By the time I wrapped up the third novel, I was arrogant enough to think that writer’s block was for pansies.
Enter my next series (TBA later). The first book also flowed. The theme is paranormal, and the practical side of me worries that my friends will finally get a good look at just how crazy I am. But then, the first book doesn’t dig me into too deep of a hole.
The second one? Well that’s a different story. As I write it, I’ve been staring at my computer, thinking to myself, “This is insane. My husband will finally realize I’m insane. My children will read this one day and discover I’m insane. My friends? They’ll smile and nod at me, all the while thinking, ‘She’s insane.'”
Needless to say, with all that lovely positive thinking, the story isn’t quite flowing. It’s more of a dentist-pulling-teeth sensation. As writers, we lay our hearts and minds out for everyone to judge, and it is torture. The best part is that people fall in love with your story and characters right alongside of you. The worst part? Your crazy is let out of the bag.
But I’m no quitter. And as I’ve heard from dozens of writers on dozens of occasions, sometimes you just have to sit your butt in the chair and make the words happen. That doesn’t mean you’ll keep everything that comes through your fingertips, but it’s better than conscientiously avoiding the computer, telling yourself you’ll work on it “another day.”
And so, long story short (no groaning! I like puns!), writer’s block only has one remedy. Writing.