Writing a first book is like learning to ice skate.
You look at other people doing it, with ease, floating around. It looks fun. It looks easy.
So you put on your skates, pull yourself up to standing, and take a run at the ice.
You last for about 3 straight seconds before you faceplant violently on the ice, tearing it up with your mostly-broken teeth, your face at this point more porridge than anything else, a trail of gravel and blood behind you.
You roll over on your side, and with a mix of bodily energy and shame you crawl away.
It wasn’t as easy as you thought. You hate yourself, you can’t do anything you say, and you assume everyone else hates you as well.
Then you realize no one laughed at you for making an effort–maybe it looked funny when you fell–but hell, you didn’t even know how to ice skate. That’s an A+ for effort, and at least a B+ for plunging yourself into something that’s incredibly difficult and incredibly scary.
By the time you write your second book, you’ve already done a few rounds on the ice. Yeah, you wobble a bit, but you remain standing. You’re not doing triple-backward-sommersaults, like some of the others, no, but you’re managing. And we’re proud of you. You’re doing well, you’re getting there, and it shows.
This has been my experience with writing a second book – I look back at my first one and cringe, hard, thinking of what I thought, knew, and did. Had I seen myself the same then as I do now, I would never in my wildest dreams have been able to make it as far as I have, which admittedly isn’t very. I’m glad I was unknowing, but it makes me look toward the future with a shameful, cringey outlook.
This has been a weird metaphor, mostly because I never managed to learn to ice skate. I fell and never dared going back out.
Dare to go back out.