The Pressure of Book Two

When I started writing the first book of the Gatlin Series, it was never supposed to be a series. It began as a game that wasn’t meant to exceed 10,000 words. Then, suddenly, I had this chapter book taking formation, and my fingers were mad dashing across the keyboard for eight hours a day. The book took me three weeks to write (and about a million to edit). While I loved the writing, the editing was a slog. I read the book three more times after initially writing it and sent it through three rounds of professional editing. But in the end, I had a finished book for people to pick up and binge read.

What about book two, you ask? The story here is similar only in the sense that it took me, again, only a few weeks to write the book. In fact, the entire Gatlin Series was written before the first one was published. But I had yet to put it through any editing. This brings us to the hard part.

Publishing book one was a thrilling and nerve-wracking experience, and I felt a mixture of joy and anxiety at putting something I was so deeply invested in into the world. It was tough to watch my little letter baby take a step away from me and land itself on the Amazon page. So much so that I became afraid when it came to book two.

I was afraid that book two would be a letdown or that people would grow tired of Alexia’s story. But mostly, I was burnt out from pushing so hard. The first book came so quickly. Even the editing, while a total drag, still felt exciting because it was the first time doing anything like it. I wanted to let book two lie in peace for a while, but there was always this nagging pressure to get it done.

This pressure wasn’t just from inside of me. I also received some of the biggest compliments from readers that an author could get; they wanted more! After readers had their first crack at book one, they immediately wanted to know what happened next. It’s my fault for leaving such an enticing epilogue. And to add that on top, I made a silent promise to my early investors to publish a second book. This is not to say that the second book has been a chore. In fact, I think the second book absolutely has to be told because it leads to the third, which, in my humble opinion, is the best one yet.

So, where do the pressures come in? That’s easy. They are totally self-inflicted. I have this terrible habit of being really impatient when it comes to a to-do list. If something is sitting on my list, it eats away at me and slowly drives me insane. I’m like this with a lot of things, so to put something so big on the list was really hard, and to make matters worse, it was entirely within my control, which meant the only thing stopping me was me.

I talked a lot about these unseen pressures in therapy, and we always came back to the same thing, “Does it make me happy? Is it bringing me joy? And am I doing it for the right reasons?” It took me several months to come to terms with the simple fact that it wasn’t bringing me joy, not at this point anyways. I was pushing through the edits because I felt the unseen pressure to get it done. I had to constantly remind myself that other authors don’t publish multiple books in a year, “Breathe, Larissa” is what it essentially came down to.

But do not fret! This is not a blog revealing that there will be no book two. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Book two has completed its first round of revisions and is sitting at the table waiting for round two. I’m also happy to say that somewhere in round one, I found the joy again. The book morphed back from a chore to a pleasure. So yes, my happy readers, there will be a book two sometime in the (hopefully not too far off) future. But even better yet, there will be a book two because I think it is a story worth telling, and it brings me joy to share it with the world.

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