I am, understandably, obsessed with tales of second novelhood, like this one in Slate. (Thanks to Katherine Taylor, who bested me!)
My first novel had gotten good reviews and sold, for a first novel, reasonably well; I wanted to do better this time. At the very least, I wanted not to go backward. This novel's success would also impact my next book deal—hell, it might determine whether there would be a next one. And then there was Deborah. She works as a high-level editor at a major magazine; I didn't want to put her in the position of walking into the office the wife of second-rate novelist. The prospect of embarrassing her—of being anything less than a husband she might feel the urge to brag about—was even worse than the prospect of embarrassing myself.
The unfortunate use of impact as a verb notwithstanding, it's worth a read.