Rolling With the Punches

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

Whilst fumbling around for a topic this week, I turned to last year’s January posts for inspiration. How was I feeling at this time last year? I had promised to blog once a week, just like I have this year, and I must have been motivated, right?

Funnily enough, it’s almost been a year to the day that I shelved Border Towns.

I didn’t know I was shelving it at the time, though. Back then, I had only just realized the fatal flaw of the novel and was optimistic that, with a little revision, the third draft would be an excellent launch point for eventually querying.

And then the bulk of 2020 hit and utterly drained my muse of it’s life force, and the revisions that I once held so much hope for instead withered on the vine. No matter how many times I convinced myself I would come back and finish that damn book, the spark for it just never materialized.

Coming to the conclusion that it had to be shelved was a laborious, at times even emotional process, but I later came to accept that it was for the best. In the months since, my creativity has blossomed once again, whereas every time I sat down to brain storm Border Towns revisions, I felt smothered. Perhaps this shouldn’t have come as a surprise – this is, after all, the second time I’ve had to trunk a project I had pinned a lot of hopes on.

Yet, that fact alone, in turn gives me pause. Am I really the kind of person who can’t revise? Who comes up against flawed but fixable stories and just… folds? Do I have any creative willpower at all?

Logically, I know that many, even most, writers have a stack of unfinished or unrevised novels underneath all of their published and perfectly good ones. So, logically, I’m right on pace. But, still, it doesn’t feel good to leave projects I once felt held so much promise, and still do feel could be whipped into shape given the right motivation, languishing in the trunk. 

That being said, I’m not gonna let myself dwell on that too much. I have a new project to shed blood, sweat, and tears over, after all, and besides, if I’ve learned nothing else these last few years of trying to be a writer, it’s that you’ve gotta take whatever stories come your way and roll with the punches they deal you. 

Nothing ever goes according to plan. Isn’t that what makes writing so much fun? 


That’s all from me this week, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back next time with another look into the life of a struggling writer. Until then may your writing be plenty and your own struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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2021: Second Verse, Same as the First

Hello friends, and welcome to a somewhat shell-shocked, everything-is-fine.gif edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

And struggling is exactly what I am doing today. Struggling to remain focused, struggling to maintain my resolutions to write every day, struggling with whether or not it’s even appropriate to pretend like my little writing blog matters. Funnily enough it’s the same sort of struggle I experienced writing my first blog post of the new year last year, back when I was worried we were about to go war with Iran.

What a time to be alive, but unironically.


For me, writing is not an escape. It’s not a distraction. It’s not even fun. It’s work. I love it – my god do I love it – but I think we all know that it is hard. It’s a job that one shows up to, day after day, for the promise of very little pay or no pay at all. And, just like my day job, I can’t just shut out the world when I want to get cracking.

I write fantasy, epic fantasy, full-fledged at-no-point-ever-even-in-the-same-universe fantasy. But what I write is still colored by what I experience, what I see in my daily life. How can I write about saving the world, when ours seems more than ever on the brink?  What does my story matter? Not just my fictional story, but my actual story. The story of just another struggling writer?


I’m okay, really I am. This isn’t some sort of mental health crisis. When that happens, I’m sad internally. Today I’m sad externally. I’m sad and I’m furious. I’m sad and I’m diminished. I’m sad and I’m just… tired.

I didn’t write yesterday. I probably won’t write today. But eventually I’ll find my way back to the page and get back to the business of making stuff up, because someday my words might be someone else’s escape. I should be so lucky.

Kerry Share

New Year’s Resolutions: 2020 Edition

Hello friends, and welcome to a special New Year’s Eve edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well. 2020, huh?

I’m not gonna harp too long on it. Suffice it to say: I did not meet a single one of my writing goals this year. Not one.

Some of that can be blamed on the pandemic (failing to attend critique group, for example), but most of them were just me giving up. It’d be easy to say “Well, 2020, give yourself a break,” and I am in some ways. But I want to be a professional writer, and that means holding myself to account when I let that goal drink itself stupid and pass out in the back seat of my car.

One thing I did start this year that I’m really proud to have kept up is journaling. It’s been a major boon to my mental health and it has really helped me kind of examine in a semi-external way the particular turns of my mind that leads me down certain paths. Which is an overly verbose way of saying, I think I know why I fail at so many resolutions, year after year.

First, and it so ding dang obvious now that I’ve thought about it, is that I get so amped up for the potential new lifestyle I’m about to embark on that I just get too ambitious. Like last year, I said I wanted to dabble in podcasting. I mean… even just dabbling in something like podcasting means a monumental amount of effort, that even if 2020 hadn’t been a complete trashcan would have totally eaten up spoons I frankly just don’t have. Or even something simple like starting an Instagram account. If I’d given it more than a moment’s consideration I would have realized that I have no use for an Instagram account. The idea of having pictures out there in the ether of my personal space pings my anxiety like nobody’s business.

Last year I listed eight (8) resolutions and failed every single one of them. This year, I’m scaling down. I only have three. They are ambitious in their own ways, but very achievable and much more in my time and mental energy budget. They are:

  1. Finish the first draft of The Nexus by July 31st
  2. Review the 22 books currently in my TBR list
  3. Resume the blogging schedule I outlined in August (with minor alterations)

Simple, really, and yet things I have struggled with in the past: reading and writing on a consistent basis when I don’t have the deadline of NaNo whipping me along. These things are habits that I need to form, not just goals I would like to achieve. So, the real question is: how do I, someone notoriously resistant to change, go about altering my everyday behavior? Because, honestly, simply wanting to hasn’t been enough.

The answer I keep coming back to is accountability. I need the spectre of embarrassment from failing to spur me on. I need a structure to work within and deadlines to meet. And while I can’t ask someone to care about my writing as much as me enough to push me when I won’t push myself,  I can publically announce my intentions and imagine for myself a crowd of people who would be let down if I don’t follow through. So here we go. I’m not just going to vaguely say I’m going to meet these goals. I’m going to detail how and when I’m going to do that.

As for drafting the Nexus. I have a total of 6 story paths, one already drafted during November and three more outlined. So I’m giving myself seven months to plot, outline, and write the remaining paths. The path I drafted for NaNo was ostensibly the longest, so it’s not outside the realm of plausibility that I can draft one path a month. Having the first draft completely done will give me time to think through the revisions and outline draft 2 so I can start drafting that in November. Easy peasy.

Note that my second goal for 2021 was to review the 22 books in my TBR. Not necessarily finish. I’m actually giving myself the mental space to DNF some of them. Fortunately, I have a blog series specifically for these kinds of books, so even if I don’t read as much as I’d like… I can still get some content out of it. Further, after giving it some thought, I realized it would really help me stay on target if I actually named the books I plan to read (and review) and in what order. That way, if inspiration fails me or if the depression monster diverts me off track, I have a roadmap to find my way back. So without further ado: Just Another Struggling Writer’s book review schedule!

January
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

February
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

March
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett

April
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

May
The Bone Ships by RJ Barker
Radiance by Grace Draven

June
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

July
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

August
Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

September
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

October
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

(Break for NaNoWriMo)

December
Nocturne by Kat Ross
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Yes, before you ask, I’ve never read any of these, despite their fame and popularity, particularly within the genre. I’m also a little bit ahead of the game and pleased to say that I’ll most likely have the first review done as soon as Tuesday as I’m more than halfway through The Obelisk Gate and plan to spend my holiday weekend finishing it up. As I’ve mentioned before, my book reviews tend to get a surprising amount of traffic and I’m looking forward to bringing you all more of them in the coming year.

And speaking of the blog schedule… Look, 52 solid weeks of blogging is a lot. I very much doubt that I’m going to be able to keep up with that kind of production consistently. That said, I’m gonna do my best, but I’m also not gonna beat myself up about it if I don’t manage it. I also am planning to have Short But Sweet Sundays make a comeback. I’m still really enamored with that story and that setting, and it’ll be nice to have a break from the Nexus every once and a while. It won’t be weekly, but the last Sunday of the month please look forward to a little vignette in the Pillar-verse. 

See? Simple! She said sarcastically.

In all seriousness, after the trainwreck of 2020 I’m not sweating even these modest goals. Really, on a micro level, if I’m reading and writing every day then it’s a win and that’s all I have to say about that. 


So, that’s it from me for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday for a YMMV review of The Obelisk Gate and then on Thursday to check in and see how that whole writing-every-day thing is going. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Post-Mortem

Wow okay so it’s been a minute. I had intended on doing a pre-NaNo check in post before I dove headfirst into hell month but I frankly just ran out of time. Then I thought maybe I’ll do a mid-month check in and, well, didn’t have time for that either. In the past I had managed to get a lot of my writing done during the day at my day job, but this year that just wasn’t possible and so my evenings were spent making word counts.

That being said…

I actually think this year was the easiest NaNo ever came to me. Maybe it was because I was tackling something totally fresh, or that I was going into the project with a freer perspective than I had in the past, or because I just knew what to expect and what I was capable of. Even with all that, it was kind of remarkable to me how little stress I felt throughout the month. I never fell behind, and at some points got far enough ahead that I was able to take mental health breaks as needed.

Or maybe it’s just because this is what I’m supposed to be working on right now. Wouldn’t that be nice? To feel connected to the work beyond a sense of obligation? Or maybe it just feels that way right now because it’s new.

I don’t know, but for the first time since I started doing NaNo I almost had fun with it. It was still a lot of work that meant I had 0 time for leisure on my writing days, but I was enjoying the process of discovery. And for that reason alone, regardless of my completion status, I can call it a win.

So, just for fun, here’s some of my NaNoWriMo stats:

  • Words: 50,0076
  • (Handwritten) Pages: 57 and change
  • Pens killed: 14
  • Non-writing days: 8
  • Story paths completed: 1
  • Highest single day word count: 4740

I’m excited to get back to being a regular every day writer rather than an ALL OUT BLITZING writer with no time for chores, reading, leisure time, or anything else really. I took a few days off and then dove into outlining the next story path, which I’m very excited and even more nervous about since I’m genre blending with horror, an area I have no expertise in at all.

I was going to try and get a book read, too, so I can get back to my regular blog schedule but it wasn’t in the cards this week.

That all being said, I’m gonna spend some time brain storming some future blog posts and ideas for the blog going into 2021. New beginnings are my favorite after all.

Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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The IDGAF Stage

Hello and welcome to a more relaxed-than-I-usually-am-this-time-of-year-writing-wise edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Two weeks ago I talked about the itch to get back into a new project even if I wasn’t totally sure it, or I, was ready. Well. Today I’m neck deep in it. And, friends, I am LIVING for it.

This new project, codenamed The Nexus because I haven’t even figured out a working title for it yet, is completely different from my last WIP (Border Towns, remember Border Towns???). And so far that has only been a positive.

Yes, I am still writing fantasy. Yes, I am still deeply committed to planning. Yes, I am still a depressed and anxious writer struggling to stay focused as an exceedingly stressful year comes to its exceedingly stressful pinnacle. But apart from that, The Nexus, and the way I feel as I prepare to draft it, is worlds apart from my last novelling experience.

And if I had to sum up why, it would be because I just don’t feel bothered about the rules this time. And I don’t mean the rules for NaNoWriMo (which I absolutely will be participating in this year, despite my earlier doubts). I mean the conventional writing rules that I’ve either totally made up or otherwise accidentally hyped up (in my own mind) as actual rules rather than the guidelines common wisdom tells me they really are.

The Nexus will be an epic, multi-POV fantasy that follows 12 different characters (though not all will have POV chapters… this time) on 6 different story paths. Some paths intersect, or are otherwise connected, but at least one is completely off on its own. The main cast is predominantly women, and, so far, the planned story paths can differ greatly in tone and theme. Elements of sci-fi, horror, and romance will all be present, as well as the most fantasy I think I can get away with. And, though I know how this book will end, any potential sequels are still just a massive question mark.

Just writing all that out, it sounds like a complete fucking mess that no agent would ever extend representation for (especially from a debut author), and I don’t care anymore.

Importantly, that particular attitude has infected in the best possible way the rest of my preparatory process as I get ready to roll into November. In years past I could not imagine starting NaNo without a detailed outline. This time, even though I have but half of the planned six story paths fully imagined, I’m comfortable if those are the only ones that are ready to draft in two weeks. I have also struggled mightily to write out of sequence. Again, not an issue here, thanks to the POVs shifting. I can write a chapter that inspires me, then jump to another if the mood strikes, because they are both completely detached from each other and happening simultaneously (in theory). I have talked about how I write thin, and though that will still present a bit of an issue in areas like description, I no longer have to worry about filling in sluggish parts of the story. Because I have so many of them to cram in brevity will be of the essence.

I have not a single clue whether or not any of these things are actually good, or if they will produce a novel worth revising or eventually reading. But I just feel so… freed when I think about them.

I did not think this novel was ready to write. I thought for sure I needed to let it stew for at least two more years while I actively worldbuilt around the idea itself. And while there are areas that need more attention, I feel comfortable enough with what I’ve got in front of me. I feel assured that the rest will come, as it so often does, once I’m in the weeds.

So, for the first October in three years, I’m not really that pressed about NaNo. I’m not wondering if I can do it (I know I can). I’m not worried about crafting the ideal novel to launch me into a career as an author. I’m not getting down on myself for not following conventional wisdom. I’m just letting the ideas take me where they want me to go. It’s gonna be a ride and it may be a glorious, flaming mess, but I can at least say I didn’t add a heaping pile of stress at a time I really didn’t need it. Plus, at the end of it, I will have written my second novel, trunked or no. That, in and of itself, makes it worth it.


It’s time to admit that Short But Sweet will be on hiatus until after November, possibly longer. I originally conceived of it as a way to get myself back into a writing habit, and though it worked spectacularly, it sadly means the Pillar-verse will be left out in the cold. I do still plan to serialize the Pillar-verse, probably as more Short But Sweet vignettes, later on, but the effort will be sporadic as I refocus on The Nexus. I hope you enjoyed them and that you look forward to them again in the future.

That’s all from me this week. I did manage to finish a book (loved it, fwiw), so I’ll have a Your Mileage May Vary post on Tuesday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Waste of Time or What’s the Worst That Could Happen

Hello and welcome to a creatively frustrated and mildly indulgent edition of Just Another struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I know it’s only been a few short weeks since I lamented the very real, exceedingly likely possibility that I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but already I am starting think about scrambling something together. It’s not so much that I really want to exhaust and stress myself out for 30 days straight the third year running, it’s more that I just really miss being in the weeds of a writing project.

(No disrespect meant to my Short But Sweet Pillar-verse, of course, but there’s a reason I’m not presently drafting it as a novel, after all.)

Last week I thought I might be ready to try my hand a wildly different version of Border Towns, but after a bit of sleep and a maelstrom of brainstorming, I realized that though that reimagined draft may come to fruition one day, that day is nowhere near at hand. Border Towns, loathe though I may be to admit it, has to go back in the ground as a seed, just as it was 5 years ago when I first conceived of it.

But that itch it write, to create, to commiserate and celebrate with fellow writers about the pitfalls and successes, to pour out my mind and my heart and my soul onto the page, to edit and refine, to be a writer again, that never went away. It never goes away, as I’m sure many you can attest. And it’s all becoming a bit more than I can handle, frankly. I have reached a kind of critical mass where I either explode into a fit of unbridled creativity or I collapse in on myself like a dying star and give up completely on the dream of ever seeing my writing published.

The anxiety-brain, always: anything you write now would be forced and chaotic since it hasn’t had time to develop, therefore it would be a phenomenal waste of time to put any amount of energy into a new project, and you’re only going to hate it, and yourself, later, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And the thing is, all of that might be true. Except the part about it being a waste of time. Because… what I’m doing now is already a waste of time. Waiting for the AHA moment that may never come is a waste of time. Procrastinating putting in real effort into developing myself as a writer by drafting new novels, even if they are destined for the trunk, is a waste of time. Writing, for a writer, could never be a waste of time.

So, I tempt fate. What’s the worst that could happen?


Yesterday I posted a poll to my Twitter: if I wanted to say screw it and start writing again, which new project should it be? It got exactly three votes. One for each of the suggestions. Cue the facepalming. But, this morning I made the decision for myself. I know which project I’m tackling next. I would say I’m hyped but I’m actually still pretty nervous. That anxiety-brain aint quiet. But I don’t care. I’ve made a decision and that, for me, is always one of the biggest hurdles.

Next week I’ll introduce the working title and concepts of the new project. This week, though, I’ve gotta figure out… what those are. Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.


Oop, almost forgot the Short But Sweet Prompt:

She was absolutely sure she would be weeping all night.


Kerry Share

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