The One Trick Pony: I already used up all the words

Geronimo in box

(I’m feeling all boxed up)

I have today off. I decided to sit down and work on my new novel project that I’ve been so excited about for a week. I’ve written a few notes and I even wrote 900 words of the first draft. I sat down feeling so happy to finally take a couple of hours to write. I have had no energy and no time for this in much too long. I sit down and –

A half an hour later I’m still staring at my open document and nothing comes to me. I feel daunted by the project. I don’t understand why I’m trying to write a light hearted book. I don’t DO funny or light hearted. So why come up with a premise for a book that has to be taken with a grain of salt because it’s about a woman who wakes up in the middle of a really cheesy romance novel?

I thought it would be funny and interesting. But I’m not a “fun” person and I’m only funny by accident. I’ve never been able to channel humor into writing at will. So what the hell am I doing?

Then I thought, maybe I should just work on one of my other novels? I took a look at my files and nothing sounds good. None of my stories seem worth working on. All of them sound stupid to me.

Meanwhile, most of the writers I know are working on their third or fourth or even seventh novels. Writing book after book after book. Writing whole books in a couple of months. How do they complete whole novels in just a few months? Even when I was writing constantly and through the night, feverishly working on my first novel, it still took me two years to finish it. TWO YEARS. Most of these other writers have day jobs or kids or kids and day jobs, or chronic illnesses that hamper them down – and yet they are all still writing SO MANY BOOKS IN SO LITTLE TIME.

I know. I’m not supposed to compare myself to anyone else. I can’t help it. I want to know how they all write books in so little time. I want to know how everyone is doing this. I want to know why I can’t do it?

I feel drained and depressed about my writing. I want to be writing full time. But even when I have a little bit of time, all the words in the world dry up in my mouth like dead moths.

I have written and finished ONE book. One. And I can’t even get the second one in that series written. It should be EASIER than the first one. I already have so many characters written and places established.

I am going to do dishes.

Maybe I’m just a one trick pony.


  1. Okay, I might be about to go all motivational speaker on your ass. Forgive me.

    1. You can’t force yourself to write what you can’t write. If it sounds like fun, make it a short story, don’t invest the time into a novel you won’t like.

    2. If you hate all your other novels, start a new one. Or find a writing prompt and write a quick flash or two. I used to go to this website called the wordforge that had daily prompts, it was great for clearing my brain out.

    3. Sequels are hard as fuck. I wrote Beasts of Burdin to be a standalone, then my publisher asked for three. I freaked the fuck out. HOW CAN I WRITE THREE OF THESE? I was paranoid for the entire novel and it slowed my writing a lot. (I’m one of those quick writers) Sequels are not easier, at first anyway.

    4. Speed doesn’t matter a damn bit. I’ve written 5 novels in two years and for all I know, 5 of them suck. If you commit to 500 words a day that’s 80k in roughly six months. Look at the small picture and it will help keep you from freaking out.

    I could be full of shit.

  2. angelina says:

    I don’t hate any of my novel ideas. I love them! But I can’t seem to work on any of them these days. I’ll be thinking about them, get excited, finally find an hour to write and sit down and – all the words are gone. All the energy is gone. Nothing but dust in my head.

    I don’t like writing short stories. Possibly because I don’t like reading them.

    Maybe the Bad Romance novel just needs to be darker and more twisted. I don’t know.

    I knew it was going to be harder than ever to write when I had to get a part time job to keep my family afloat. I find working outside the home very draining and between that and caring for my family, there’s not much of me left.

  3. Kele Lampe says:

    Sounds to me an awful lot like you got this idea that really excited and amused you and then once you started bringing it out of your head and putting it on the page you ot scared because “I don’t do that!” I’m seeing a self-imposed limitation. Some part of you has already decided it’s not.going to work. Is it possible for you to ignore the.second-guessing and just allow yourself to play with a concept that amuses you? Learning to do that–just let it go without putting an agenda on it or expecting it to do anything but amuse me in the moment–that’s what has enabled me to keep writing. It’s one of those paradoxical things.

  4. angelina says:

    Maybe that’s part of it. But I also think I’m just so fucking tired all the time. I sit down and expect to jump in and write when I manage to set aside an hour or two but I can’t seem to get into ANY of my stories. I’m excited about all my stories when I think about them and then when I sit down to work on ANY of them – pffft! All my energy evaporates. I haven’t had first draft excitement since my first novel. I get excited about my ideas, I start to write notes, flesh out characters, and plot and then – I start writing and can’t get INTO it.

  5. Kele Lampe says:

    I get that. I seriously do not get the ability so many people seem to have of writing novels while also working at a day job. NEVER have been able to do it. I only have so much to give. And even when my jobs have been relatively benign, just having to go there, day in and day out, and devote myself to something I feel no passion for drains me.

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