Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I've always had the same issue with writing sex- as Kathleen said, I need to be in the mood for it. I need to, you know, seduce myself a little. Talk dirty to myself. Imagine Sharlto Copley and Bradley Cooper getting it on, that kind of thing. I like a little foreplay before my laptop has its dirty way with me.

But as long as I have that, I don't get a lot of sex burn out.

Where I do get burn out is everything else. Getting horny isn't too hard. Forcing myself to write another short story when I have a sudden allergy to writing short stories is another matter altogether. I wrote around sixty shorts in three years. Shorts now make me break out in hives. I see that 5k limit looming up and start clawing my way up the walls, thinking of all the lives my characters could have lived and all the things I could have had them do if I just hadn't gotten them in a chokehold right where chapter two would have started.

Plus, then, there's this feeling that I've totally lost any knack I had for it. Oh yeah. That's a great burn out feeling. I can't dooooo iiiiitttt I'm shiiiittt at it oh God why, why did I ever start down this path? Why did I ever think I was any good? Nobody wants my work anymore everyone hates me I've lost it all before I've even begun.

And said feeling also applies to the simplest things like how a sentence looks. Whether I've put a little silly aside in somewhere. How many times I've used the word just- oh, how burnt out I am on the word just. And the word sometimes. And the word and. I hate the word and! If I ever see the word and again I might have to get up on the clock tower.

But there's more, oh there's so much more before the clock tower and the sniper rifle and the people screaming: "She filled a page with ands and then went berserk!"

I'm also so, so burnt out on wondering if anyone reads my work, or likes my work, or likes any of the weird concepts my fevered brain comes up with. I'm burnt out on trying to second guess why somebody did that and what it means about me and what it means about them and oh did that publisher just close? Yeah, great. Great. Thanks for that. My burn out could really use some further bad news, to make it worse.

Any time soon I'm gonna wake up in the hospital, with skin grafts all over me and someone asking me why I thought it'd be a good idea to stick a McDonald's apple pie up my fanny. That's how bad my burn out sometimes is. So bad, that it has to reference a post I did on the Grip a few weeks ago, about apple pie fanny.

But please- don't fear. For my sanity. There is one thing I'm not burnt out on. There's one thing I'll never be burnt out on, not as long as I live. And it keeps me going, even when I don't want to. I switch to novellas for it, when I don't want to write another short story. I keep replacing those words, when I don't want to see them anymore. I get myself all in the mood and think up new and weird scenarios for it so it'll never be just the same thing, over and over again, this one thing that keeps me going.

The characters. The characters keep me going. The people in my stories- they're always there. And they're always ready to talk, whenever I need them. And they push when I don't want to go and they comfort me when I think I can't, and they put soothing ointments on my burn out.

I won't ever give in because of you, my characters. I promise I won't.


  1. Hi Charlotte,

    I think you've been reading my mind. I recognize all of this.

    I can get so stuck on how to get a character across a room.

    I can get to a place where I'm sure no one wants to read anything new that I write.

    Even the aversion to shorts rings true. I've never written a novel, but lately my "short" stories are coming in at 16k, precisely because I'm in love with the characters.

    Thanks for this. It's good to know I'm not alone.

  2. Your love for your characters shines through every word you write, Mighty Charlotte. Yes, even the ands.

  3. Charlotte - I hate the word Just. Maybe I love it, because I use it way too much. And pelase, step away from the hot apple pie.

  4. Charlotte, dear,

    We all go through those "I can't write for shit, why am I even bothering, I said it all in my first novel, if I see another butt plug showing up on the page I'm going to shoot myself" periods.

    I love your work. So you have at least one person who thinks what you write is worthwhile.

    As for the shorts... well, one does get out of practice. But it doesn't matter, really. Just write. (Yes, "just". Makes it sound easy, doesn't it.) Open the gates and see what comes out. I guarantee you'll be able to sell it, lady, whatever the length, and there will be a few of us, at least, who will continue to celebrate your heated craziness.


  5. Mike- Hee hee, 16k! Yeah, I know that feeling. And likewise, on not feeling alone. Am always amazed by how many writers think they suck, and how many think they're the only ones that feel that way!

    Jeremy- awww, I hope so! If I can get across even a little bit of my love for my characters, I'll feel like I've succeeded.

    Kathleen- exactly. I use it so much that I don't think it can be hate. I probably want to snog just. And apple pies.

    Lisabet- thanks. And I am, I swear. I get down, but I keep fighting, I keep going!


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