Over a year ago, in a conversation with my editor, I confessed that I'd been struggling -- really struggling -- with the second novel. I speculated that this could have something to do with the publication of the first novel, and the new & unprecedented feeling of paralyzing terror at the thought of sitting down to write.
I think it's the shock of every writer's life when their first book is published. The shock of their lives. One has somehow to adjust from being anonymous, a figure in ambush, working from concealment, to being and working in full public view. It had an enormous effect on me. My impression was that I had suddenly walked into a wall of heavy hostile fire. That first year I wrote verses with three magical assonances to the line with the intention of abolishing certain critics! Now I read those reviews and they seem quite good. So it was writer's paranoia. The shock to a person who's never been named in public of being mentioned in newspapers can be absolutely traumatic. To everyone else it looks harmless, even enviable.
I won't go on, because there is nothing more obnoxious than a writer complaining how hard it is to write. Complaining writers need a slap!