Just Another Struggling Writer

The lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel.

Race Against the Clock

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

Longtime readers know that a common theme of my writing journey is that feeling that I don’t have enough time to do my writing. With a jam-packed day of work, taking care of my kids, and all the other obligations of adult life, writing sometimes, by necessity, is an afterthought. A low priority non-requirement. Of course, I have endeavored to make it a priority – otherwise I would never get anything done – but, the fact of the matter is, when my child is sick or I’ve got big meetings at work to prepare for, writing does fall down the list of to-dos. 

But I’m not here to talk about that today. At least, not directly. 

Because, while I have been feeling the time crunch again of late, it has been on a much larger scale. More long-term. I’m starting to worry that at the current rate I am writing, I will never get all my ideas down before I die.

Ideas, Ideas Everywhere

It’s funny, about ten years ago when I first started taking the idea of writing creatively seriously, I lamented that I would never forge a successful career because I didn’t have any original ideas. Though I had written “original” work as a girl, once I discovered fanfiction, my creative efforts were redirected. Truly, I spent my entire adolescence (and early adulthood) writing fanfiction, millions (and I mean millions) of words of fanfiction. So, when I realized that my passion could not be realized on the back of fanfiction alone and tried to transition into original work, I despaired to discover that all my creativity was bound up in other people’s ideas.

However, as I detached myself from fandom and fanfiction, the ideas started to come naturally. Eventually, I had to make a list to keep track of them all. As I got to five or six, I decided I would be satisfied with that. Six or seven books is a dream career for a lot of people, even me. Those five or six ideas would be where I would pin my focus, and if even one of them got published, I would be happy. 

Alas, it doesn’t really work that way, does it? Because the more I wrote, the more I learned about the craft, the more I read, the more ideas I got. Last year, I wanted to try writing fantasy for Scribd but didn’t want to let go of any of my home-grown ideas for a novella. So, I opened up a fantasy title generator and clicked through them. From that simple exercise alone, I got even more ideas. Those pitches didn’t end up getting picked up by Scribd, so I said shit, I’ll write them anyway, and added them to the list (one of them is actually my current WIP, Daughters of Necessity). 

Yet, for all the ideas I have generated, I am doing astonishingly little actual writing. And that is the real problem.

But Not the Time to Think

I’ve talked before about how I want to be prolific. I want to write millions of words, dozens of books, thousands of blogs. That’s how I want to put my stamp on the writing world. I’d much rather have a bunch of mid-list novels than one (or even two or three) best seller. 

Learning that about me, you would think I would be hard at work, pumping out manuscripts all the time, but… well, I think you know where this is going. 

While it is true that I do have a busy life that is not always accommodating to the whims of a writer, the same could be said for a lot (if not all) of authors and aspiring authors. And while it is also true that I just don’t have that type of personality where I need to always be working on something, I do have a tendency to make excuses as to why I’m not writing today. 

I was thinking yesterday about my current output. Right now I’m averaging about 650 words a day. Not as much as I’d like, but enough to get a 90-100k word fantasy novel written in about half a year. Not bad. Actually, pretty darn good. But then I remembered: that’s just the first draft. If a novel goes through three or four revisions, and those revisions take about six months conservatively… then you’re starting to look at 2 or 3 years before you’re ready to query (or self-pub, whichever path you’re taking). If each novel takes two years, then to write a dozen novels I’ll need 25 years! 

I spiraled even further than that, but you get the picture. Basically, I came to the conclusion that I’m not working hard enough. 

And look, I’m not totally blind to the fact that many writers who have the kind of prolific career that I aspire to are able to do so because they’ve made writing their full time gig, so comparing myself to them is ill advised. Moreover, I know better than to push myself beyond my limits and drive myself into a months-long burnout. But, I also know that if I want to get to a point in my writing journey where I can call myself prolific, I need to step on the gas a little. Perhaps, if my aspirations were a little more focused (say half a dozen novels), then I could afford to take a more leisurely approach. Alas. 

Tick Tock

Looking at this conundrum, it is easy for me, especially with the anxiety brain, to tell myself that I simply need to work harder. But that would be folly. As I’ve already said, that would just make me miserable in the end. I want to enjoy writing, not feel chained to it. But I do need to make some smarter decisions about when and how I write. I need to stop lying to myself that I am perfectly capable of writing while watching the basketball game or with youtube on in the background. I need to be more firm with myself in carving on specific times to write. I need to surround myself with more creativity and less sports talk radio, Twitter, and goofy cell phone games. 

Most of all, I just plain old need to write. Sounds simple enough, but I’ve made up plenty of bullshit excuses to avoid it. And excuses are one thing I just don’t have time for.

That’s all from me this time. Tomorrow I’ll be bringing you a short review on Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, which I finally finished. Until next time my lovelies, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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About Me

Kerry Share’s love for writing started, as it so often does, as a love of reading at an early age. At age 11 she wrote her first short story, a Harry Potter knockoff of dubious quality, and her love for creative expression was born. Throughout her teen years she continued to foster that passion through derivative work, and at 23 she turned her eye to original fiction.

Now in her thirties, having taken a break from creative endeavors to cope with an ever changing life and landscape, she is determined to make her dream of a writing career reality.

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