The Sophomore Slump

"Sophomore Slump." It's a phrase that I hadn't heard until a few months ago. A phrase I wish I'd never heard. Can you say mind-numbing fear?

FIRST DATE had been out for two months. It's doing okay, I think. At least no one told me it was horrible and it was receiving pretty good reviews.

So what to do next? A follow up book, of course. I already had a contract for AFTER HOURS so Yippee! Right?


Life happens.

Somewhere in the editing process, when I was feeling less than creative, I read the term sophomore slump and immediately froze. Was my second effort good enough? I wanted it to be better than FIRST DATE... you know in the whole spirit of grow-as-a-writer thing?

But what if? What if? Okay, I'll just say it. What if it sucked?

And yes, I am that insecure. Most of time. Sometimes. Right now.

As I grow as a writer, I become more and more aware of just how much I do not know. I seriously considered taking a month off to study The Chicago Manual of Style or maybe breaking out an old college textbook. Nothing like burying yourself in syntax to engender holiday cheer. ; )

Working on AFTER HOURS, I thanked heaven daily for my awesome, wonderful, patient editor. Not only is she supportive, she doesn't let me get away with shoddy writing. I knew I could relax because, if it got past her watchful eye, it wasn't horrible. AND (that's a big 'and')wanting her watchful eye to become bored forced me to up my game.

This is a tough business. It's tough on your ego, your self-confidence, your time and sometimes your sanity. Even after publishing, my biggest fear is that I'm just not quite good enough.

AFTER HOURS' release day has come and gone and now I'm waiting the first reviews. And that's another nerve-wracking experience.

So, anyone out there have periods of insecurity? Willing to share?


Emma Lai said...

Can we say daily? LOL! Of course, I have periods of insecurity. I just had a new release on Wednesday and am biting my nails waiting for feedback or reviews. I was reading one of my friends blogs about pacing today. And, she brought up some things I know I have problems with sometime. I started wondering was she talking about me specifically? Had she read my story and decided to blog about its general flaws? But, no. LOL! It's just my insecurity coming out. Hang in there! I know you'll get some great reviews!

Lynne Roberts said...

Thank you, Emma! I know I'm not alone.

Cari Quinn said...

In a word, yes. Mostly every minute I'm awake. LOL I'm in a place where I'll hopefully have a second release out soon, and like you, I want to make sure it's not a disappointment. To me, most of all. I'm pretty tough on myself, which relates to my periods of insecurity. ;)

After Hours is a wonderful story, Lynne! You don't have a thing to worry about as far as reviews go. Everyone's going to love it as much as I did.

Kaily Hart said...

First Date was great and After Hours in on my 'to get' list! There's no way it was a fluke so I'm sure anything you write will just get better and better. I kinda figured the insecurity wouldn't go away with being published and sorta assumed it could get even worse. I've been fiddling with my requested full for Blaze for almost 3 months now! I'm terrified to send it back in. What if she gets it and the potential she thought was there just .... isn't? It really is an industry where the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know. It's funny you mention the Chicago Manual of Style. I just recently ordered it and I did really, truly try to read it or parts of it. Is it just me or is it extremely difficult to find things when you want to answer a basic but specific question? I consider myself well read and well educated, but man it's hard going. Is there a Chicago Manual of Style for Dummies?

Lynne Roberts said...


Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot!


The Chicago is just like that. It's not just for fiction and there is a lot in there that doesn't apply to us.

Send the full, the editor will love it! I know how you feel. My fingers shook when I sent the revised FIRST DATE into the my editor for those same reasons you list.

Thank you.