Overcoming Writing (and Life) Challenges

The first book is written and published, now what? Writing book two should be a cakewalk. Main characters are fully formed, the setting is known, and all the author has to do is concoct a new round of adventures. You did it before, you can do it again, right? Excuse me while I go zip myself deep within an undersized tent somewhere in a dense, smoke-filled forest with no power source, little light, and an oxygen tank that’s nearly empty. That’s how I sometimes feel while writing book two. So what’s an author to do?

I’ve sought a boost from other authors who usually offer up the same comment, “The second book is the hardest.” Maybe so, but how’s that going to turn around the situation? Or at least help it along. I hunt down anecdotes from far and wide to fuel my will power. Stories to live by. Here’s one example:

A wise teacher sat with a group of students, one of whom was worried about getting through a troublesome situation. The teacher told this tale: A man was trying to make his way home, walking in darkness with a hurricane lamp in his hand. The lamp only threw a few feet of light around him. He was lucky if he could see ten feet ahead. Supposing the man were to say, ‘My lantern is tiny and weak. I can’t see the whole path to my house. I’m never going to get there.’ What would happen to him? He could forget about reaching his goal. But what if he instead thought, ‘Just a few more steps. Just a few more. This light will certainly guide me home.’ Taking one step and then another, the likelihood of making it would be strong.

Of course the man in the story could be confronted by a robber (in this writer’s case, a time robber, perhaps in the guise of Internet surfing and shopping), a wild animal (a kitchen sink that needs unclogging) or another interruption, distraction or anything demanding attention. But the beauty of these interferences are that all may be overcome. The writer can:
– outrun the robber (stay away from the Internet);
– slay the wild animal (by chaining oneself to one’s chair), ignore the creature or scare it off;

There is nothing so gratifying as completing a task, especially the monumental one of finishing a novel. All the more reason to nurture fierce determination above all else.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago


Every time I read your blog, I love it even more than previous one.

Thank you for making my day.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x