Trunk It or Try Again

Hello and welcome to another Border Towns-centric edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, friends, I’m back on my Border Towns shit.

With some time opening up in my writing schedule after I wrap up this current freelance project, I’ve been doing some thinking about which personal project I want to tackle next.

Before freelancing took over all my spare time, I was working on an epic fantasy MESS code named the Nexus. I look at the Nexus as my “IDGAF” project. It pulled me out of a very long, bleak writing draught and while it is really fun to work on, I also recognize that it would be a tough sell to an agent or editor as a debut author.

Meanwhile, I realized a little while ago that I’m ready to confront the major revisions Border Towns will need if I ever want it to see the light of day. I have come to terms with the fact that it will not look in any way like I originally wrote it, and, more than that, I have come to see those changes as a good thing. Which naturally has me wondering if this upcoming break in freelancing is the right time to put serious effort into the New and Improved Border Towns.

But, this is Just Another Struggling Writer, and here we like a healthy dose of anxiety brain with any and all ideas we have as it relates to our writing.

Border Towns was the first novel I ever finished. Sure, it was a shitty first draft in which I skipped writing scenes that were giving me trouble altogether, convinced I would come back to and add them later (spoiler alert: I did not), included very little description and proper worldbuilding, where the plot was weak at best. But… I finished it. No matter how bad it was then, and how bad it still was when I finally shelved it to brood over the aforementioned revisions, it is precious to me for that reason alone.

But is it so precious that I cannot see the forest for the trees? Has Border Towns always been meant for the trunk, but I’m just too infatuated with the idea to let it go. Am I preventing movement on new, better ideas because I’m so hung up on this one? If I move forward with revisions, do I risk becoming, or am I already too far gone, the person who is constantly writing and rewriting one idea over and over, unable to admit that it’s fundamentally broken?

Because, if I’m being totally honest, I think I’m scared to really commit to a brand new project. Starting the Nexus was spur of the moment, because it was in my head at the moment and inspiring creativity I hadn’t felt in months, but since taking a break from it to work on freelance stuff, I’ve realized that I probably should have let it percolate a bit longer and do some more worldbuilding before diving into something so dense and all over the place.

On the other hand… do I just think that because I’m scared to start fresh?

Is the call of Border Towns simply the comfort of knowing I have a strong foundation to build from? I hate worldbuilding, I’ve said it many times before. I think I’m pretty terrible at it and tend to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details, unwilling to move forward if there’s even the tiniest gap in logic. So, even getting to some pretty substantial worldbuilding related revisions, having a foundation to build from is incredibly comforting.

That said… is it time for me to get a little, dare I say, uncomfortable?

To be fair, all novels need revisions, some even major revisions like Border Towns. This would only mark my third draft (if that, since the second never got finished) of the thing, and it’s not like I’ve spent a decade of my life on this with still nothing to show for it (coming up on three years, but I haven’t really been working on it that whole time either).

So is this anxiety over being too committed to the idea all for nothing? Or is it time to dip my toes into something fresh? Something that, unlike the Nexus, I can feasibly sell?

I genuinely don’t know, but the time to decide is pretty much now. My freelance break is coming up in two weeks and will likely only last a month or two. If I don’t want to totally waste that time asking myself these same questions over and over until it’s time to write for money again, I better sort out how I feel and fast.


So friends, what would yall do in my position? Trunk it or try again? Let me know in the comments. Maybe you can help me sort out the way I feel about the whole thing.

Until next time! May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Late But Feeling Great

Hello friends and welcome to another wonderful writing week. I am off to a slow start thanks to a first-thing-in-the-morning dentist appointment for my daughter. But I’m at my desk now and ready to get to it.

Last week, I am pleased to say, I started off pretty strong. Then Thursday hit and along with it a pretty serious anxiety attack that derailed my schedule. I’m not panicking though. I got off to a great start today and I’m looking forward to getting back on schedule.

But while I’m thinking about it, I always seem to start off a new week great and tend to flame out by Thursday, even on days I can’t blame mental health. Which gives me to wonder if I’ve front loaded my writing schedule a bit too much.

To be fair, Mondays are my best writing days because, thanks to the way my kids’ extra curriculars work out, I have a surplus of sitting around without access to all my usual distractions time. I figured out years ago that I can use that time to write, and it’s been a big help now that I’ve got deadlines to adhere to.

Tuesdays I have a little bit this same sort of time, but Wednesday evenings I’m at home and have to keep myself on task. Thursdays are the tough ones because I have on out of the house activity smack in the middle of the evening that I have to stay mentally engaged in. Then I get into the weekends, when I inevitably find myself playing catch up from not writing (enough or at all) on Thursday and Friday.

I’ve been wondering for a while if there is a way to rebalance my workload, to take a little heat off the end of the week. Obviously, in the life of a working mother who also happens to be a writer, all days are not equal, and trying to treat them as if they are is giving me some pretty skewed expectations of myself.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Figure out how to ease some of the pressure on my less productive days by utilizing my time more wisely at the start of the week when I’m feeling fresh and have more time in the first place.

As for last week, while I didn’t make my word goal (working on playing catch up at the moment) I did get my reading done. Working on correcting my thought patterns so that whenever I pick up my phone to check Twitter, I open my kindle app instead. It’s a slow process, of course, but every little bit matters.

Alright I better get back to it. Concrete goals for this week are almost identical as last week:

  • Add 8500 words to my current project, bringing the total to 15000 by Friday
  • Read 5 chapters
  • Blog, darn it, on Thursday and Friday

Crazy to think that in two and a half weeks I will be without a freelance project to work on for the first time since April. What the hell am I going to do with myself?

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Prove It

Good morning friends and welcome to another week in the writing trenches

Well, last week you didn’t hear from me at all here because I had once again put myself in a pretty horrible position with my latest freelance deadline. Suffice it to say, I had a pretty hefty word count deficit and just one week to play catch up. And though I did manage to get submitted on time, it was not an experience I would like to repeat.

Which has gotten me thinking. I’ve now been at this freelancing thing three months and with each progressive project it feels like my time management has gotten worse. Of course, I had a depressive episode to contend with, which interfered with my productivity on each of the last two projects, but that doesn’t completely account for my poor time investments across the board. That’s something I have always struggled with (read: my several posts lamenting my time budget and how I always manage to overspend).

Those struggles reached their natural climax last week. And though I did not end up at my worst case scenario (emailing my editor in embarrassment asking for more time), I worry that if I do not take my time management pitfalls more seriously, I will find myself in that position sooner rather than later.

So, I’ve decided to issue an ultimatum to myself. I have one more project under contract (thanks again to my poor time management I wasn’t able to get another pitch submitted for the quarter on time). If I can’t figure out how to make my schedule work without sacrificing things like day job performance, housekeeping responsibilities, etc., then this will be the last time I do it. Four months should be plenty of time to work it out and if I can’t… maybe it’s just not meant to be.

Which would suck, because I really love writing as a job. That part hasn’t worn out it’s welcome yet. My second check hits my bank account this week and it’s still so cool (yet surreal) to think I’m getting paid for work I’m passionate about. So it’s time for me to prove that this isn’t just some gig I took up for shiggles. This is an important moment in my career and a major stepping stone for my aspirations to make writing a living.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Figure out how to balance writing against my other time commitments or give up writing as a part time job until I can.

Concrete goals:

  • 1500 words a day, 7500 by Friday
  • Blog on Thursday and Friday
  • Read 5 chapters of current read

Wish me luck. I’m working against 15 years of bad habits.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Back in the Saddle

Good morning! I am pleased to say that I am feeling much, much better now, the fog of depression at last lifting on Friday. After a weekend to recoup and relax, I am back to tackle another fun filled week of writing.

Okay so the “fun” part might be a bit of a stretch, because, thanks to the aforementioned depressive episode I am now in dire straits writing wise. How dire, you might be wondering? Well, 27000 words in less than two weeks dire.

Yeah, it’s bad.

I’m lucky that this project was my most thoroughly planned of the three pitched. I even have a solid outline. I feel pretty sure I can pull this off, but it’s going to be a harrowing two weeks to be sure. It’s really going to test my abilities in a way they never have before. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. In fact it feels like lying to use the word nervous instead of “scared shitless” for example.

But I’m just gonna go for it. No telling what I’m capable of until I try, right?

Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Laundry At Your Feet

Good morning friends.

Let’s start off with a confession: last week was rough for me. My depression and anxiety were pretty severe which made it hard to do anything writing wise beyond the absolute minimum to get my freelance manuscript turned in. The great news is: it got turned in! Damn straight, I finished the edits, submitted, and sent off the invoice as well. I spent all weekend relaxing, trying to get my groove back, as it were, so I could tackle my next project, plus all the other writing related tasks I have on my docket.

Sadly, I’m not feeling much better today. I want to be able to say that I’m going to write 10,000 words this week, and do my requested edits on my first freelance submission, and start working on my pitches for next quarter. I’d like to say I’m going to read and blog and all that stuff that I really want to do. But I know over promising and ultimately under delivering, even if the only expectant party is myself, will just make me feel worse in the long run. Yet… all this work has to get done somehow.

Fruits Basket is a Japanese manga by author and illustrator Natsuki Takaya, and is one of my favorite stories in the whole world.

So, instead of setting myself up for failure and contributing to an already pretty down mental state, I’m going to try and do the opposite to maybe help lift myself out of it. I’ll do this by setting tiny, realistic and very achievable goals and, hopefully, meeting them. I won’t think about the next task until the first is complete. I won’t stress that I’m not working hard or fast enough.

At least I’ll try, anyway. Isn’t that what matters in the end, that I try?

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Crunch Edition

After a long awaited and much needed staycation, I am back to work and ready to meet those goals.

And such goals they are, the biggest, of course, being the manuscript I have to finish by Friday. I had hoped to be done with it by now and have the chance to spend this week doing some editing, but my mental health did not cooperate at all last week and I’m staring down the barrel of 8000 words or so. It’s a big ask, especially with returning to the day job, but I think I can get there. If only I can get my brain chemistry to play nice for a change.

I also got my first ever edits back for the first manuscript on Thursday and, thankfully, they went easy on me. I’m hoping to tackle them this week, if I can get this manuscript done in time.

But wait, there’s more: the pitch deadline for next quarter is coming up in a couple of weeks which means it’s time for me to really evaluate the time I’ve spent so far doing this freelancing thing. I think I may only submit two pitches this time, to give myself a month to regenerate. But that still means crafting two new ideas, complete with synopses. Thankfully, I have a little bit of time there.

Lastly, I need to get back to my reading schedule. I just haven’t been excited about books the last two or three weeks, no doubt thanks, at least in part, to my mental health struggles, but I’ve also had other hobbies distracting me. So I want to read three chapters this week.

So much to do, so little time, yet I want to take a moment for a mental health aside. The short of it is I am not doing great right now. I’m struggling a lot with the loss of enjoyment of my favorite activities, which I rely upon to relieve every day stress. This isn’t new to me, so I don’t want anyone to worry that I’m suddenly deeply depressed in a dangerous way. I’m not. But I am struggling. The only reason I’m even able to still write, when normally creative pursuits are the first thing my depression disrupts, is because this time it’s literal, actual work. Even still it’s been hard to get words down which has resulted in a bit of a crunch period this week.

Take care of yourselves everyone. As a special favor to me.

Kerry Share

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Sophomore Slump

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

Friends, let’s get right down to it. My struggles this week begin and end with this new freelance project I’ve been working on. Suffice it to say, after successfully turning in my first manuscript and getting to generate an invoice for that work, work for which I will actually be paid, I thought that I would easily be able to slide into the next project. I mean, I had just proven that I am capable of this job after all, hadn’t I?

Turns out one success is not a sufficient bulwark against burn out. Or writer’s block. Certainly not both working in tandem.

Also working against me is the fact that my annual staycation from my day job is coming up next week, putting me in that distinctly “high school senior in the last two weeks before graduation” sort of mindset (did anyone else call that senioritis or was it just local slang?). Trouble is, while I won’t be working at my day job next week, I still very much have to work on this freelance project if I want to turn it in on time. I might have been able to get away with not writing (or at least writing very little) if I had just frontloaded my word count burden onto this week and last week, but, uh, I did not do that.

I’m trying to look at this as a learning experience. My writing isn’t always going to adhere to the same patterns as my day job. My life is going to look a little bit different now that I have additional obligations outside of my 9-5. And, most importantly, I can’t just decide that playing video games is a better use of my time than writing. Not when I’m on deadline.

No matter how much nostalgia Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings with it.


The good news is if I do 2000 words a day starting tomorrow, by the time vacation is over the manuscript will be completely done.

Now I just gotta convince myself to write 2000 words a day while on vacation.

I’m not sure I’ll be doing a Friday Feelings post tomorrow, but if I do I’ll see you then. If not, I’ll be back June 8th with post-vacation Monday Motivations. Until then, friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Second Verse, Same As the First Edition

A little late to the game this week, but better late than never, right?

Which is fortunately not something I had to tell my editor when submitting my first completed manuscript on Friday. Nope, though it came down to the wire with edits, I was able to submit my very first freelance project before I left my office on Friday.

When I tell you I felt so light driving home that I thought I might float away… not an understatement!

That easy breezy feeling, however, lasted about 15 hours, because the next morning I woke up and remembered that my very second freelance project is due in just four weeks, and it was time to get back to work.

While such a realization might make me panic, after the hair on fire sort of week I’d just survived, I actually felt… pretty damn good still. I’d just proved that I can do it! I can write (and edit, bless) a 35000 word manuscript in 28 days and actually turn it in on time. Of course, there was some crunch in there that I’d like to avoid this time around, but that’s a simple matter of sticking to my schedule and stop making excuses to not write for a day or three.

Capping it all off, I even had the pleasure of submitting an invoice for my work this morning. Imagine! Getting paid to write! /swoon

Honestly, I worried about how well I would do in this sort of scenario: a tight deadline and set parameters to adhere to. But I did it, and, you know what, more than that, I actually enjoyed myself. Sure, the self doubt and editing anxiety sucked, and I miss being able to waste my evenings on video games, and maybe it’s just the clout of saying I’m officially a working freelance writer now, but… it was kinda fun.

(Don’t at me in a year to ask if I still feel that way. Just in case.)

So, here we are. Back to square one. And I ain’t mad about it.

Goals:

  1. Reach 12000 words by Friday
  2. Edit first three chapters
  3. Read at least 1 chapter of current read
  4. Continue workshopping Snowflake project
  5. Have fun

I’m still a little scared of that 2000 words a day goal, but I’ve just seen that when my back is to a wall I can do it. So why don’t I shoot for that number when my back isn’t to a wall, so that way I have time to relax when it matters and not burn myself out? This week will be the first test. Can’t wait to check back in and let you know how I did.

That’s all from me, friends. I’ll be back on Thursday with your regularly scheduled post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Deadline Edition

Good morning and welcome to another fun filled writing week!

Honestly, I had a hard time writing this post, because I am feeling seriously UNmotivated this morning. I think I worked myself into a small burnout this weekend. Which, don’t get me wrong, needed to be done. I needed to push myself over the hump and prove I had the work ethic necessary to do this whole freelancing thing.

But, man, I’m tired.

And I can’t stop now. Deadline is Friday and while I am no longer pulling my hair out worried that I’m going to miss it, I still have some work to do. A chapter and a half to write and about half the manuscript to edit. The editing I’m less stressed over, since I know it’ll get an edit on the other side too. I would just really like to turn in a clean, cohesive draft.

Then, no rest for the wicked, because I immediately start work on the second project. Which means I really need to be working on the outline now. I keep reminding myself that no one forced me to submit three pitches in three months. I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again, but at least I’ll have the measure of my mettle as a writer by the end, right?

I’d also like to finish this damn book. I know I’ve been saying that for two months now, but I’m finally over the midpoint hump and I always tend to binge the climax. If I can carve out time between editing, outlining, drafting, and Mass Effect (sorry, saving the galaxy comes first, I don’t make the rules), then I should be able to finish. But it’s not looking good.

So those are my big goals: edit, finish, format, and submit this first project, and outline the second, maybe even get the first 2k words down toward it. Read if I can, and get a nap. Preferably soon.

Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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