Of Writing Robots & Lazy Humans

Procrastination Station took me to Reddit today (as it often does), where I came across a 2-week old AMA (a Q&A sort of thing where anyone can ask the poster of the thread anything) by R. L. Stine, whose books I’m sure have kept many of you up at night on more than one occasion, and one person was asking him about his writing process.


24 BOOKS IN ONE YEAR? Holy crap. Okay, so Goosebumps and Fear Street books aren’t that lengthy, but it is still amazing to me that  one can be so productive with their writing and keep up a constant stream of ideas. The last book I finished writing was 2 years ago. Last year I only was able to squeeze out 15 thousand words. I just… wow. 

Another similar writer is Brandon Sanderson, who manages to publish at least two tomes every year, and almost never lets a day pass without writing at least a thousand words. He constantly shares his progress with his readers, and he’s always working on more than one project. He published one book in October, then published its sequel a couple of weeks ago (and these two books are each 400+ pages).

He writes so quickly even his website tracker is unable to keep up – The Bands of Mourning was published yesterday!

Do I have writer’s envy? Maybe. Possibly. Okay, definitely. I would love to be able to tell myself that I’m going to write 1000 words today and actually do it. But most of the time my well of creative juices feels completely dried up, and words on screen seem like an intelligible mess of crap I would not want anyone to see. It doesn’t help that I tend to shred ideas to pieces even before I begin working on them. I can find so many faults and loopholes in a plot, and give up on it before even giving it the chance to show me its hidden potential.

I really, really want to publish something this year. It has been so long and I crave the feeling of having someone read my words. I am actively trying to edit The Muse Bunny, but the biggest chunk of this book was written in 2007, and my style has developed so much since then that it’s taking me every ounce of effort not to just delete everything and write the story from scratch. For the time being, though, it holds, and I pinned up a note over my desk to remind me to do this:

2016-02-13 21.17.17
It hasn’t been working as well as I’d hoped.

But… you know, even though I try to blame my shortcomings on Writer’s Block or whatever, sometimes I just feel lazy. Or I just don’t want to write. It’s almost like, “Book, I did my part and came up with this kickass plot. Now please proceed to write yourself.” Does anyone get that feeling too? I have so many things going on in my life to be able to churn out several books a year. Between work and my semi-existent social life, and having to take care of my house and doing other things I enjoy… it just hasn’t been easy. 😦

Does anyone else struggle with this? Do you have writer’s envy?

18 thoughts on “Of Writing Robots & Lazy Humans

  1. I think I could do a book a year if I didn’t have other things taking up my time. Once I sit down in front of my manuscript, I can put the work in. It’s the promotional work for my other novels that eats into my time. And life in general. But 24 books a year? Holy moly, no way.

    1. Sorry for the late reply!
      Oh yes the promotional work does take up a lot of time. It can be even more frustrating than the writing process itself. I think we’re lucky that we’re not contractually obliged to write X number of books per year. It would make it more stressful than it already is!

      1. Random Aside: I read Puppet Parade aloud to my wife over the last several months and she really enjoyed it. Lots of shocked reactions at plot twists, shivered at Igor, and a lot of “awws” for Sophia and Oliver.

  2. Good grief, Zen I can really relate to “Book, I did my part and came up with this kickass plot. Now please proceed to write yourself.” Haaaa – I say exactly the same thing. I wish I could write 100 words a day (1000 is totally out of my each at the moment.) Maybe 10 words a day? Hmm, I might be able to manage that 😉

    1. Sorry for the late reply – been very busy! 😦

      Haha, I would gladly settle for 100 too. So many things to do and I don’t know where to begin. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do writing full-time. A girl can dream, right? 😉

  3. I’m impressed with the prolificness of these authors.

    I’m graduating from my masters program in late April and am super excited about having a more regular schedule where I can plan in my writing, instead of going to school all day and coming home and working on homework.

    1. Sorry it took me so long to reply!

      Oh wow. I think I remember when you first started your Masters. Amazing how much time has passed since then! Congrats. 😀 And yes, I hear you. I’ve had so much freelance lately, so even when I get home from the office I have more work waiting for me. I made my last submission last night and I can’t wait to get home and do some writing this evening!

  4. I totally lost it when I read this! “Book, I did my part and came up with this kickass plot. Now please proceed to write yourself.” Oh, man. What writer hasn’t had this thought?

    The only time I was on a 1,000 words a day kick was the year I took off from working to write and teach dance, back in 2012. With work and life, that kind of focus is impossible now.

    I keep saying I’m going to try to squeeze novel editing into my mornings, but my brain just can’t handle it first thing. I only have time on the weekends…usually Sundays, because Saturdays I still have work on the brain and I have to get my house together.

    1. So sorry for the late reply, Britt!

      Haha. If only it could actually happen. It’s definitely hard to strike a balance – I work and I’m the sole manager of my household, so things keep piling up and by the time I finish I’m too exhausted to actually do any writing. 😦 Getting the house together is important; it’s aggravating to write anything when you know there’s some mess waiting to be cleaned/laundry to be done/dishes to be washed.

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