Friday Feelings; Buckling Down Edition

This week has been a real two steps forward, one step back kind of week. Actually, to be totally honest, it has felt more like two steps back, one step forward.

When I get close to the end of a draft, I like to do what I call a post-mortem outline, although outline might be a bit of a strong word since it’s more like a skeleton. Basically I just jot down the major plot points from start to finish to make sure everything still makes sense and contributes to the forward momentum of the story. I can honestly say that 100% of the times I have done this I have flushed out weak points or gaps in the narrative that I wasn’t able to see before.

The same was no different for this freelance project. Today I drew up a post mortem and I identified a few places in the soupy middle area that needed shoring up. No big deal, right? Re-edit a few chapters here, add an extra chapter there. Easy. Well, my deadline in *checks calendar* one week says otherwise. I still have about 9000 words and most of the third act to finish drafting, and about half the manuscript to edit.

Honestly? I’m starting to panic a little. I’m hoping that, in this case, panic is a good thing that kicks my ass into some sort of hyper-productive mutant for the next seven days. I have always said I work well with a deadline, and, well, now is the time where we find out if I was just bullshitting myself all along.


And then, guess what? I get to do it all over again. That’s right, I get to start my second freelance project immediately after. Then, there’s a third one after that. Then it’ll be pitching time again, when, barring some sort of magical mental unlock/upgrade, I will not be pitching three stories again. I mean, probably. I don’t know. Part of me still thinks that I actually could slay this kind of work, but the last week has really dampened my self-confidence.

I just really want to prove that I can do this, but I also think I under estimated the time consumption and let myself off the hook one too many times, and now I’m here in crunch. Maybe next time, now that I know what to expect, I’ll be able to plan better and it won’t feel like running a marathon at a sprint every day.


One good thing to come out of this week (although, in retrospect, it is partially contributing to my time squeeze now) was that I got a shit ton of reading done. I made a goal on Monday to get to 50% of the book, and by Wednesday I blew right past that. I’m in the build up to the climax now and I so wish I had time to just sit down and just consume the rest in one go, but it’s just not possible with this book. Even at 63% I still have over 250 pages to read. I’m also getting to that dreaded point in a novel where the characters start making really dumb, groan worthy decisions that I know are necessary for tension or whatever, but still give me the worst case of second hand embarrassment in history. It’s still really good though and I can’t wait to finish.


Me: fusses about being extremely short on time to get actual paid work done.

Also me: spends an entire hour writing a blog post nobody asked for.

See yall next week, pals! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Finding a Bad Place to Stop

Hello and welcome to a late but actually craft oriented edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Some exceedingly stressful situations at my day job last week sucked up some spoons I had reserved for blogging, which is why I went radio silent last Thursday and Friday. This week brings new stresses, but I’m determined to get back on track. That’s what pro writers do, right?

I am coming up now on the climax of my current freelance novella, a little behind schedule. There’s a couple of real life things I can blame (second COVID shot side effects and the aforementioned work drama for example), but I have noticed a niggling little craft thing that has given me to start slow on occasion, including a lot last week.

In reading, we are all familiar with the idea of finding a good place to stop. It’s why I tend to read straight through to the end of a book whenever I reach the climax. It would be easy to apply that concept to writing. When you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, or really fast moving sequence or chapter, and the creative mojo is really flowing it might be tempting to write straight through until you’ve resolved whatever tense moment you’ve started.

What I have found lately is that impulse is to be ignored. Soundly. Friends, when you’re writing, I recommend finding a bad place to stop.

On the days this last week when I have struggled to get started, invariably those days were the ones when I had to start with a fresh scene or chapter. And though I could always reread the previous few pages, I still found that I had to create new momentum from a cold start. It, in a word, sucked. On the other hand, whenever I had to stop mid scene (sometimes mid-sentence) for whatever reason, it was much easier to pick back up again the next day. Then, once I was able to finish the scene, starting up the next one was much easier as well.

Yes, there were times when I was lying in bed, still thinking about the scene I’d left behind in favor for sleep, and I would get an idea for the next few sentences that were too good to let sit overnight. In those cases, I would jot them down in my iPhone notes app, just like I would with any other idea that struck in the middle of the night.

Since making this realization, I’ve made a conscious effort to end my writing session for the day in the middle of a scene, and it’s really helped me stay productive.

This isn’t a new concept, nor is it foolproof. But now that I’m on deadline I’m finding out all sorts of new and, ahem, exciting things about keeping up a steady flow of new words, so I expect more of these not new, not foolproof tips and tricks in the future.


I’m not gonna lie friends, I almost axed this post for this week yet again. I rushed it and after rereading it, I decided I hated it and thought no post would be better than a bad post. But then I remembered that routine is super important to me. If I let myself cop out again for the third week in a row, I’ll be setting myself up for yet another year of sporadic blogs and shitty content. So I decided: not this time. I’m growing. For now you’ll just get shitty content. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll evolve into producing something quality. The struggle of a working writer never ends. Until next time dear friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Belated Edition

Hello friends! I’m a bit belated this week because I had a scheduled day off yesterday from work and I decided to apply that to all types of obligations on my time.

That being said, the end of my week last week was a bit of a shit show that completely threw off my routine, and I am ready to get back to the familiar, even if that means a Monday Motivations on Tuesday. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I am now officially 10 days out from my first deadline and I’m starting to feel the pressure. I still have about 13,000 words to pound out and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, I still have to edit them as well. I did a shit ton of editing over the weekend, though, and am feeling really good about the state of the manuscript, unfinished ending notwithstanding. I just need to stay focused and keep grinding. I’d like to focus on edits during the day and new words at night, that way I can keep an even balance of forward momentum and necessary revision. I would also like to reserve the final two days before deadline on copy edits and formatting, which gives me just over a week. Gulp. But, this is what I signed up for and now is the time to find out if I am equal to it.

I did a lot of reading yesterday during my downtime which I really enjoyed, I just wish I could read faster. I’m starting to feel a bit down on myself for letting my reading schedule get so off track, but I really like this book. I’m not likely to discover new time to read, however, with my next freelance project already lined up after the first wraps up. I just need to keep plugging away and stop feeling guilty. Ha! Easier said than done, right?

So, even though I did workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project last week, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the results. I just found it really hard to to distill the concept down to 10 or 15 words. In a way, it feels like I failed the creative exercise it was meant to be. I would like to keep working at it this week. There isn’t any rush for this, it’s purely a vanity project. I want to make sure I get it right.

Okay, so concrete goals:

  1. Reach 30,000 words by Friday.
  2. Edit 3 chapters
  3. Get to 50% of my current read
  4. Relax with an episode of Bridgerton

Is it a sign that you’re overworked when you have to set a goal to relax? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that.

I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully, barring any other day job fires to put out) with your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations, Fresh and Ready For Success Edition

Good morning friends and happy Monday. I hope you all are ready for another fun filled creative roller coaster, because I sure am!

Last week was a learning process. As it was my first official week on the “job” I wasn’t quite sure how much work writing I was going to be able to achieve, nor did I know how much time and energy I would have left after all the work writing was done for the day. That said, even though I got sick Wednesday and tainted the sample, I feel I was able to get at least a workable understanding of my capabilities (and my limits) and I’m ready to set myself some reasonable goals.

Last week I wanted to hit 10,000 words on my first work project, and I did that on Friday. So, this week, I’m going to challenge myself to hit 21,000 by Friday, so an extra 200 words a day. I’m going to accomplish that by getting up a half hour earlier every morning and starting my day off in the creative mindset. The great news is: I’ve already accomplished that for today. In fact, I managed to get 500 words done this morning, leaving me in great shape for the rest of what is looking like a very busy Monday (as always).

My other goals are easy and simple:

  1. Read 3 chapters of my current read, Throne of the Five Winds
  2. Workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project
  3. Start mentally prepping my second work project

I’m really feeling the time squeeze today so I better get after it. I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully). Until then may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Friday Feelings, Sick as a Dog Edition

Man, what a week it has been. My routine has been thrown all out of whack, largely because I woke up on Wednesday with a terrible head cold. It’s been a serious battle to get my words done each day whilst feeling like crap, but yesterday I took a shit ton of meds and pounded out 2500 words to (mostly) get myself back on schedule.

Oh, yeah, I have a schedule now. With the contracts that came in on Friday, I officially have a deadline for my very first freelancing projects. Now, I happen to think that I work really well on an external deadline. My own personal timelines, on the other hand, I tend to pretty much ignore. Holding your(my)self accountable can be tough when you’ve never had to practice it.

But, give me someone who is counting on me to hand in my work on a very specific day? The fear and shame of the mere prospect of letting them down is enough to get me thrashing the keys, random allergy driven sick days be damned.

So, at long last and behind the band wagon as always, I started Bridgerton this week after hearing, and seeing (looking at you Regé-Jean Page, yum), plenty of good things about it. While I’m not tripping over myself to binge it, partially because I’m saving it for when I need inspiration on my historical romance, I did find the first episode enjoyable. And let me just come right out and say it: I am loving the diverse regency setting. Love it. Not sure I would be watching were it any other way, to be frank.

Funny story though, here I was thinking this should would be akin to, for example, the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation, and so fired up the first episode while at my desk at work.

Those of you who have seen the show will know why that was not the finest idea I’ve ever had.


On Monday I set a few goals for myself for the week. Let’s see how I did.

  1. 10,000 words by Friday – Well, not quite but pretty damn close. I clocked out last night at 9400 and am looking forward to hitting 5 digits this evening.
  2. Complete Step 1 of the Snowflake Method for my new personal project – Sadly, no. Staying on track with the above goal took most of my bed-ridden spoons. But, the week isn’t over until Sunday night at 11:59, right?
  3. Transcribing written words for The Nexus – again no.

  1. Read 1 chapter from my current read – Yes! I got done writing early last night and managed to squeeze in not one, but three whole chapters. A whopping 5%. Did I mention this book is dense as hell? Can’t wait to review it, honestly.

Okay, so a 25% success rate isn’t great but, hear me out… Hey look, is that Regé-Jean Page right over there?! *poof*


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

Kerry Share

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Testing: Monday Motivations

Well, friends, I had so much fun with my Friday Feelings post that I thought I would try another kind of weekly update. If Fridays are for reflecting on my weeks, then Mondays will be when I speak my goals into existence. Ready? I am.

As I mentioned on Friday, my very first freelancing contracts came in and I woke up Saturday eager to get started. I knocked my first daily word count goal out easy peasy, but Sunday was another story. My two elder children were having a difficult sibling day, which meant I spent most of my time playing mediator and generally trying not to have a melt down myself. I’m not sure I succeeded. Suffice it to say, it was after bedtime before I got a moment to myself to write, but by that time I was fried. I’m proud of the work I got done, but it wasn’t even half of my daily goal.

But that just means I need to work a little harder today. My goal is to have 10,000 words toward this first work project by Friday, which means a NaNo-esque pace of 1600. That said, between my son’s allergy shot and daughter’s gymnastics practice, Monday is my best writing day (a lot of sitting around time without the usual distractions). So today I’m hoping for 2000.

But my work project isn’t the only thing I’m hoping to make progress on. As I mentioned Friday, I’m exploring the Snowflake Method as a way to plan a new personal project. The Snowflake Method suggests starting with a one sentence pitch for your novel. Which… is harder than it sounds. This week, I’d like to work one up.

I also have a little bit of transcribing for The Nexus to catch up on, as well as a ton of reading. I’m nearly a month behind in my reading schedule but I am stubbornly refusing to DNF my current read. If I can just get one chapter done this week, I’ll call it a win

Alright, so those are goals and I’ve spent enough time here yakking about them rather than getting after them. I’ll be back on Thursday for your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Testing: Friday Feelings

Hello friends. Today I come to you with something entirely experimental. Pursuant to last night’s post about putting more of myself out there, I’m going to try and do just that. A blogger and writer I enjoy (Maggie Slater) does a weekly roundup every Friday, and I really like the idea of reviewing my week and talking a bit without needing to have a specific topic in mind (unlike my Thursday posts). So, I’m gonna test it out and see how I feel.

img_9339
tfw you feel like you don’t even deserve to feel imposter syndrome

Yesterday (and today) I got some great news regarding the freelancing opportunity I applied for in February. The pitches I submitted were accepted by the editor and all that’s left to do now is to sign the contracts and start writing. I’ve got some complicated feelings on this (though I’m obviously both excited and nervous), mostly about how… well, how easily this opportunity came to me. It literally appeared in my Twitter feed right when I needed it most, within days of me starting to explore freelance writing. There was no struggle in the trenches, as I have often heard freelancing described. Not even a rejection. It has been a very smooth process thus far, and while I am still in the early stages (I have yet to write anything heartier than a synopsis), it just hasn’t jived with what I expected landing a gig as a freelancer might be like.

Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. The anxiety brain always makes things sound worse than they inevitably are. But, to be honest, has given me a modicum of imposter syndrome. Like… do I really deserve to have gotten this far? Then I remember, that I’m barely off the starting line. I’ve made no money, I’ve written no words. So… do I really even deserve to claim imposter syndrome?


I bit the bullet and opened up an Instagram account. That, too, was fraught with second-guessing. I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions post in January that I have been thinking about this since last year, but ended up not doing it because the idea of sharing images of my personal space grinds my anxiety button. And that’s still true! The thing about Instagram is that it’s designed to be pretty, and my life aint pretty. I mean that literally. I don’t have these neatly curated writing spaces, or carefully posed props. What I have is a mess. Again, literally. But also figuratively.

But… isn’t that kind of a reason in and of itself to just go for it? For better or for worse, this is the low-income writing life and others living it deserve to see (and show) that it’s not always the ‘gram level ideal.

At least that’s the soapbox I stood on to convince myself to sign up. We’ll see if it bears out.

(eta: if you’re on Insta as well, please add me and validate this choice! I’m @justanotherstrugglingwriter)


snowflake
snowflake

I’m in the very, very early stages of planning a personal project, and the nature of it requires extensive planning. Even more so than I usually like. So, I decided I would take this opportunity to re-examine the Snowflake Method of plotting a novel. I have tried it once or twice in the past, but found it was too rigorous in it’s planning, (which, for me, is weird). However, that high level of forethought might be just what I need for this new project. I look forward to exploring it and sharing with you all how it goes.


I think that’s everything from me. I’ve got to get started on my very first freelance writing project wtaf. It’s still strange to say. Should I tell my family? Or should I wait until the draft it accepted? Or should I wait until I have payment in hand? It’s all new and exciting and also wow I hope I don’t screw this up.

See you all next next week! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Putting Your(my)self Out There

Hello and welcome to a reinvigorated yet anxious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, the creative slump that had been dogging me all last week lasted all the way up until this very morning, when, for whatever reason, I just felt ready to shake myself back to work. It’s been the single most frustrating thing about my writing journey: trying to accomplish my goals around the unpredictable cyclone that is my mental health. No matter how much I plan and schedule and set deadlines for myself, there is simply no accounting for a hiccup in brain chemistry that derails me off course, even if only for a few days or a week or a month.

But, it is who I am and, short of finding the right doctor and the right cocktail (unlikely in my present circumstances), it’s just something I have to live with.

So, enough of that. Back to work.

scribbling

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (even struggling with, ha ha) is how hard I’ve found it to make connections with people in the writing community. It’s no secret as to why that is: I’m very shy and very private. But there have been moments, especially during the pandemic, where I have felt extremely isolated on this wild journey of mine. That’s not much of a revelation either. The act of writing is a solitary process. Sure, we can all commiserate before, during, and after the fact, but – unless you have a co-author (and more kudos to you if you do because, whew, I could never) – the actual penning of the words is something only you, yourself can do. Add in the pandemic, where we have all been cut off from each other in new and exciting ways, and it’s not any wonder that I’ve been feeling some loneliness creep in, despite my historic preference for mental hermitage.

(I know I’m not using that word correctly, but it feels accurate so let’s go with it.)

There’s also a measure of social anxiety baked into my predisposition for solitude. Will people unfollow me if I talk about my video game hobby or my kids or sports instead of writing? Will people like or respect me less if they learn more about my life? Will I be harassed if I share too much (it is the internet, after all). Will I say something I regret?

It’s hardly the first time I’ve wondered these things and it’s not at all the first time I’ve thought that my anxiety is crushing some of the life out of me. And while, again, that’s just part of my existence on this planet for the time being, over the last twelve months I’ve made major strides in pushing against some of my uncomfortably close boundaries and exploring what could lie beyond them. Turns out, if I want to make friends I’m going to have to be friendly. And part of that means opening myself up in ways I’ve been hesitant to before.

I’m not really sure what that means yet. But I think it’ll probably result in me talking a lot more. Maybe here on this blog, or in the comments of your own blogs (which I do read, but have been too nervous to meaningfully interact with). Or perhaps on Twitter or Instagram.

Please look forward to it.


I am trying really, really hard to get through my current read so I can review it for you all. Truly, I do like it and I do want to write a book sort of like it but… my god it is so dense. It’s like exercise trying to read it, and with everything else I’ve had going on I just haven’t had the energy. I will get through it one day, though, I swear.

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

Kerry Share

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Learning To Love the Hustle

Hello and welcome to another embarrassed and more than a little self-conscious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I took last week off from blogging, simply because my brain was a complete desert of ideas on what to talk about. I’m pretty proud of my blogging habit this year, in that I’m finally managing to maintain a consistent posting schedule. So, I’m not going to beat myself up over missing a week, even if there wasn’t much of an excuse for it.

So, this morning, as I was bemoaning in my journal my rather sluggish word count pace for my first “work” project, I came to a stark realization about myself. An uncomfortable one. Dirty, even. Something I’m not even sure I should admit in a public forum. But this blog is about the struggle of writing so here we go.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about how quickly I burn myself out whenever I try to cram extra writing into my days. Which lead to the realization that the cause is that I am giving up my typical leisure activities in favor of getting my words in. Which then got me wondering why don’t I consider writing a leisure time? I mean, it’s work, obviously, never let it be said that it’s not work, but… why isn’t it fun for me? Isn’t it my passion? Shouldn’t time spent writing invigorate me? Which then had me asking myself the age old question: why do I write? This morning, I think I found the answer, and it was a major disappointment.

I was 11 years old when I started my first novel (a surprisingly dark Harry Potter knockoff, for those curious), so to say I’ve always been a writer wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. But almost nearly as long as I’ve been a writer, one of my chief concerns regarding my creative passion was how to monetize it. I grew up poor and have lived below the poverty line multiple times as an adult, and constant worry about having money is still deeply ingrained in me today. It’s a sad, sad thing to attach to one’s passion, but I did it without even realizing it. Though my dreams of making a living off my writing have tempered somewhat as an adult, and especially over the last few years as I have taken it more and more seriously, the point remains that my goal has never (or at least rarely) been to create something that people love, but something that people buy.

Okay, to be fair, that’s not entirely true. I wrote fanfiction for fifteen years on the back of my desire to create and fueled solely by the people that read it and loved it all along the way. So I know I can do it for the sheer joy of the thing, but it’s just been so much harder to start from the ground up with completely original material and no sure audience waiting. The anxiety and self-doubt, and the imposter syndrome stemming from my successful fandom years, has really weighed on my creative ambition. And in the void left by friends and strangers telling me that my writing is good, I turned back to money for motivation.

Word to the wise: money is a shitty motivator.

The answer to my question about how to avoid burn out is really to rediscover how to love writing as a past time rather than a career in potentia. It’s learning to let go of my fears that I won’t succeed as a writer, because I’m measuring success by the wrong metric. It’s relaxing the intense sense of urgency I feel, like I’m running out of time to be a professional writer, because… I’m 32.

Letting go of all these neuroses isn’t going to be easy. But the first step of solving a problem is recognizing that it exists, right? So, here’s me taking that first step.


As the blog continues to creep toward another major follower milestone, let me take a moment to thank everyone who has followed my extremely ponderous journey. Thanks to everyone who has offered encouragement, insight, and advice. But most of all, thanks for reading.

Kerry Share

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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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