More pie?

As the sole Muse representing the “aspiring author,” I could easily write about the couple stories I’ve got under my belt (one WIP and one in the dreaded drawer) or the slutty next novel, but, really, we’ve talked about all that before. So instead, I wanted to share some insights I’ve pieced together from being backstage with the other Muses as they all tackle Book 2 of their contracts.

I’m horribly lucky in that I’ve seen not one…but four of my closest writing friends make it into multiple-book-contract-land. Many of us aspiring authors view this as a magical world similar to Willy Wonka’s Factory, where we’ve finally mastered this writing thing and our biggest concern is if we buy the ski house or private island first. Unfortunately, friends, the lickable wallpaper still has some wrinkles. All this is to say: Even though I’ve never written a Book 2 on contract, I know for darn-sure it’s hard. Very hard.

Whether it’s a sequel or stand alone, publishers want Book 2 to be just the same as the first, without being the first. It’s got to have more fizz-bang, but be cozy in the same market space…after all, you’ve created a brand with #1. You’re no longer a debut author, so *gasp* the writing has to be even better. And, of course, there’s the deadlines…even the most lenient drop-dead-dates change the writing game forever. You and your manuscript now have an entire publishing machine in the bed with you.

I’m not going to be the guy that says Book 2 is harder than breaking into the industry with numero uno. Because I don’t think it is…both are gigantic pains. The difficulties morph like Violet Beauregarde, but they’re still there waiting to trip you up, slow you down, and kill your creativity.

In summary: Writing is hard, no matter what stage you’re at. Or as one of the Muses told me (Veronica, forgive me for paraphrasing):

“The prize for this pie eating contest is more pie.”

I LOVE that! It’s so, so true.

Obviously, I’m not a sucker duped into taking a golden ticket and thinking the everlasting gobstoppers are truly everlasting. I’m a knowing participant heading into my dream knowing the dangers lurking beyond. So, why…WHY…if it never lightens up, do I still do it?

And, for me, the answer is that I have to. It’s not about the money (though it’d be nice) or the fame (ditto). I’m a writer because I’m a writer. Like most authors, it defines a big chunk of my personality.

As masochistic as it sounds, I’m drawn to the pain, because if it were easy, well…everyone would ACTUALLY write that book they always wanted to. If it were simple, there’d be no art and no craft. Without the sweat, there’d be none of them lovely endorphins that come when you nail a character or figure out a plot point.

If it were cake, who’d eat the pie?


Good stuff, this post and all the others regarding B2. You've all motivated in your various ways to get through B1 !

I've really appreciated these posts on book 2. Honestly, so many of us still in the "aspiring author" category NEED to know this. Some of us think once we get the contract, it's all gravy. We need these reminders that the work it took for Book 1 needs to be revamped and pumped into the next books if we want to have lasting writing careers.

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