The Squeeze

Hello and welcome to another anxiety-fueled edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

And what a struggle these last two days have been. You see, friends, I seem to have worked myself into a burnout.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I have always had a hard time finding a sustainable balance between my day job, my family, leisure time, and writing, and that conflict is once again coming to a head. Largely because I’ve decided that adding a part time writing gig (on top of my personal writing projects), a new self-care regimen of diet and exercise, and some new home improvement/housekeeping routines all at the same time would be a fabulous idea!!!!! THINK OF ALL THE THINGS I’LL GET DONE!

Hah, except when I feel so much like a wrung out sponge that I can barely drag my ass into the shower, much less wash a load of dishes, walk the dogs, put my kids in bed, read three chapters of a dense as hell book, come up with a couple new pitch ideas, write 1000 new words toward my WIP, and unwind with a little basketball or video game all in the same evening, like I’ve for some reason convinced myself is possible.

Part of me is convinced I’m at fault here. Other people do all these things, what the hell is the matter with me for not being able to keep up? Or, that if I took myself seriously as a “professional writer” I would make it work and since I haven’t that’s just proof that I can’t hack it at my dream job.

Another part of me knows that one solution would be to make sacrifices. Like… while I’m writing a “work” project, my personal WIP should be on hold. Make reading my leisure activity (even though I don’t really find it all that relaxing). Wake up earlier and go to bed later.

Or maybe I can compromise. Do “work” writing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and personal writing Tuesdays and Thursdays. Figure out how to listen to audio books (I have audio processing issues which has historically given me to bounce them) so I can get my monthly reads in on the commute.

Or, become hyper-obsessed with budgeting my time. At 5:45 walk the dogs. 6-6:30 is washing dishes and making dinner. From 6:30-7:15 do “work” writing. From 7:15-8:15 is daughter’s guitar lesson. 8:15-9 is putting the kids in bed. 9-9:30 work on personal writing. From 9:30-10 read. 10 until bedtime relax. Except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have to blog. Does that fall under personal or work writing at this point? And the local critique group meets on Wednesdays (whenever the hell this pandemic is over, that is), how do I block out time then?

None of these are perfect solutions, which means I should probably make an attempt to cobble them together into some kind of grotesque amalgamation of a work/life balance, and… you know, that’s fine. If only my anxiety would stop giving me a guilt complex for not being able to do it all in a single day, that would be great.

So, I’m curious, for those of you who are in similar situations to mine: how do you survive the time squeeze? I mean I’m all ears for any tips and tricks. I have accepted the fact that I’m probably going to have to sleep less going forward if I want to make this work, and that my comfortable routines are going to have to budge up and make space. But most importantly, the last two days have shown me that what I’ve been doing is not sustainable. That first rush of endorphins from landing this new writing opportunity may have carried me through the first week of working almost non-stop, but those have worn off now and I’m left trying to make sure I can actually do all the things I promised myself I would.

And so ends another day in the life of just another struggling writer.


I almost didn’t even write this tonight. But I’ve actually, for the most part, managed to keep my blogging habit going and I’m really proud of it. So, even though I’m tired and crabby and want to watch the Voice while I work on my latest cross-stitch pattern, I wrote. And, today, that’s a win.

So I’ll be back next week, hopefully unclenched. I will most certainly not be ready to review my latest read as it is dense. Normally that would be grounds for my brain to excuse DNFing it, but it has so many elements I wanted for my now shelved Border Towns project that I know I have to finish it. For research purposes. Yes. So, all of that to say, I’m going to be slightly off my reviewing schedule. Hope that’s okay. Until Thursday, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Your Mileage May Vary: The Bone Shard Daughter

Hello all and welcome to another (slightly late) edition of Your Mileage May Vary, the book review series where I discuss books I actually finished! This week I’ll be discussing The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart.

But, before we get started, as always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

And I really mean it this time. I’m extra spoilery today. Alright, let’s get to it.

Continue reading “Your Mileage May Vary: The Bone Shard Daughter”

Leap of Faith

Hello and welcome to another fast and loose edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

It’ll be a quick one today, friends, since I’m short on time.

I’m not a religious person, nor a big believer in fate, or serendipity, or karma. But last month, I was in a real pinch financially thanks to the devastating winter storm that displaced me and my family from our home for almost three weeks. Desperate, I went online looking for ways to monetize my writing and the results were… disappointing to say the least. Breaking into freelancing seemed impossible for someone like me with no college degree or relevant experience. I was looking into other gig work when, quite by chance, while absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter, I came across a tweet advertising a freelance writing opportunity.

What could it hurt, I thought, to send an email to the attached address and just ask.

Well, as it turns out, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, it could help a lot.

I won’t say anymore since things are still very much in the early stages, and, who knows, maybe it’ll turn out that I won’t be good for this kind of work after all.

That said, just applying for the opportunity has given me a fresh perspective into the life of a working writer, and my own capabilities. I’ve never done this kind of work before. I’ve never had to submit writing samples or pitches, or work on a deadline that wasn’t of my own creation. Every response to every step I have taken, I have convinced myself that this will be the email that tells me I’m not a good fit.

Yet that hasn’t happened. And as I approach the point of no return, the moment of real commitment, I find myself confronting a new emotion about the whole endeavor: hope.

Wish me luck!

Continue reading “Leap of Faith”

Dream a Little Dream

Hello and welcome to another whimsical edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.

To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.

So, I was being chased…

Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.

But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.

I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?

daydreaming

It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.

But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.

I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.

weird is cool

Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.

Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.

Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.

A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.

I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.

I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).

But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.


I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.

What are some of your dreams?


That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Writing From the Bathroom Floor

Hello and welcome to another anecdotal edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

As many of you surely know by now, I’ve been having a rough time lately. My family and I are still shacked up in the hotel (though, hopefully, our nearly 2-week long stay will be over tomorrow or Saturday, so long that the repairs to our pipes go well) which has made not just for financial stress but social stress as well. It’s not easy living with five people in the same room.

One of the hardest parts, for me, has been turning off the light at 8:30 and sitting in the dark. I have my laptop to entertain me, but I’ve worn out the few games I have on it and, as most everyone surely knows by now, I draft my creative projects longhand and so my computer is almost useless to me in that regard.

For the first week of our stay, I wrote as much as could while the lights were still on and settled in with my kindle, or played a video game on my laptop when the lights went out. The problem with that was: well, there wasn’t actually a lot of writing getting done during that lights-on time. Between eating our nightly takeout, the TV being on, and the kids – not having all their typical forms of entertainment – needing my attention more than usual, my nightly word output was… lacking. Half the time I didn’t get anything done at all.

Now, I don’t believe in any advice that deals in absolutes.

Always use ‘said’ or never use adverbs. Write every day. Only write what you know.

You get the idea.

So, it would have been really easy to just forgive myself for not being able to write during a really difficult few weeks. But, by the start of the second week, not only did I have a wealth of creative energy pent up, but I needed a way to vent my ever increasing anxiety (anxiety about how messy our room was getting, anxiety about the cost, anxiety about my dogs who have been staying at my mother’s, anxiety about how much longer it would be, etc). We were stuck in a holding pattern. There was nothing for me to do to make our situation better.

Monday evening ended up being really busy. My son just started a regimen of allergy shots and it was my daughter’s first day back in gymnastics after the gym shut down for COVID concerns last year. By the time I got a chance to take my shoes off, it was already time to tuck the babies in and turn out the lights.

And I still hadn’t done anything.

Exhausted, yet still unable to sleep and having worn out all my usual tricks, I mulled my options. I could drive back to my house for a few private hours only to return when I needed to pee or sleep, whichever came first. I could go straight to bed and catch up on sleep. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write. And to write, I needed light. So, I went to the bathroom, notebook in hand, and sat down on the floor.

My phone was nearly dead so I had left it on the charger. I was completely without distractions for the first time in weeks.

I’d love to tell you I wrote 10,000 words without breaking a sweat and went to bed exhilarated. But my mama didn’t raise no liar.

Three pages, just over 1000 words, in about 90 minutes was what I managed before my aching back (and ass for that matter) told me it was time to pack it in. I was worn out mentally and physically, and I told myself it hadn’t been worth it for such a modest output.

Then, the strangest thing happened. I got up in the morning and felt just a little bit lighter. Not only had I gotten over a bit of creative block I’d had following a monster of a scene that took me weeks to complete, but I’d actually helped ease some of the tension I’d been carrying around. Writing had been a fresh distraction, with an added bonus of allowing me to feel productive for a change. It felt good.

So I went back the next night. And I’ll probably go back again tonight. Because sometimes, writers just gotta write.


I completely meant for this blog post to be kind of a generalized thing about how to write in the creases, even if your creases is just one big chunk on a bathroom floor, but… well. Here we are.

Hoping to have a book review for you on Tuesday but I honestly don’t know if I’m going to finish in time. If not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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